The 360-page historical fiction novel, Anton, a young boy, his friend and the Russian Revolution, will be the topic of discussion for author and former newspaper columnist and commentator Dale Eisler, who will be in Estevan on Nov. 10.
Eisler will be the guest of the Estevan and area German Friendship Club who are inviting the general public to the early, free admission, evening event.
“The book is based on my mother’s family experience living in a small German-speaking village in Ukraine in the wake of the First World War,” said Eisler, speaking with the Mercury on Nov. 7.
“My mother was the youngest of nine children and what happened to her family was pretty traumatic. Even her older sisters had difficulty in recounting events because of the trauma. Their father was murdered. She was very young, but remembered some things so I had a thread of a story and, being a former newspaper reporter, I had it stuck in the back of my head for years. Once I started writing though, and I found the voice in Anton and got comfortable in writing in the alternative voices of young Anton and old Anton and a world that was unfolding before his young eyes, and then dealing with the topic in the third person, as an adult … working from that perspective, it came together,” said Eisler.
The story took some time to complete, however. At one stage Eisler said it sat on a shelf for 18 months, before he resumed writing.
The book, published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing of Regina, was first published in 2010 and was recently reprinted and it may become a movie in the future, if and when the funding in Europe comes together.
“It was a very difficult time back then, a lot of persecution and the Bolshevik Revolution. Picking up the pieces of detailed history from what was a small farming village, was pretty impossible, that’s why it’s historical fiction, but it’s based on what actually happened there,” said Eisler whose mother arrived in Canada in 1925 and settled in Saskatchewan, which is also home again for him.
“After my newspaper career, I ended up as assistant deputy minister in finance in the federal government then went over to the Privy Council and then was appointed to as Canada Counsel General in the United States, in Denver, before I came back to Ottawa to work for a brief spell in the federal natural resources office before coming back home to Regina,” he said.
Eisler is now a senior policy fellow in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina and said he’s looking forward to a return to Estevan.
The reading and socializing will begin at 6 p.m. at the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum at 118 Fourth Street, and the host club noted that refreshments will be available.