Wulf, Linda Press
Wulf, Linda Press
Editor, journalist, and educator. Macmillan, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, editor, worked for ten years.
The Night of the Burning: Devorah's Story (novel), Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.
Linda Press Wulf is an editor, journalist, and educator. Wulf was born in South Africa but moved out of the country as soon as she finished her undergraduate studies, fearing that the apartheid situation in her country would become much worse, and even deadly. She pursued graduate studies at University of California, Berkeley, and then lived and worked in Canada, Japan, and Israel, before settling again in the San Francisco Bay area.
In 2006 Wulf published her first book, The Night of the Burning: Devorah's Story. Twelve-year-old Devorah takes care of her younger sister, Nechama, after her parents die from typhus in war-torn Poland in the early 1920s. They are extracted from the country with a group of Jewish orphans and sent to South Africa for adoption. Upon arrival in Cape Town, she is adopted separately from her younger sister. Devorah, a character based closely on the life and experiences of Wulf's own mother-in-law, narrates the story from the first-person account. She describes how she adapts to life in her new country and with her new, but less-financially secure, family. She also regularly tries to recount the life she knew in Poland, living with her biological parents and her sister. In the end, she realizes that she must move forward under her present circumstances, knowing that it is impossible to turn back her life to the way it used to be.
Jill Murphy, writing on the Bookbag Web site, noted that the book contains "some wonderful and homely descriptions of life in the Polish shtetls in the early part of the twentieth century," adding that "Wulf draws some canny parallels between the treatment Devorah has received as a Jew and the colonial treatment of black people in South Africa." Despite recommending the book, Murphy observed that "none of it though, bangs a drum." In a MyShelf.com review, Beverly J. Rowe related that the writing in the book achieved "a new emotional level," concluding that the story successfully recreates "the very real horrors of war, racism, and religious prejudice, and is also a wonderful story of triumph and joy that you will never forget." Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman commented that "the history of persecution and immigration will echo with many American families." Janis Flint-Ferguson, writing in Kliatt, found that the account "sheds light on a little-known historical circumstance." Flint-Ferguson concluded that the account told "is not an easy one, but is one that further enriches the story of Jewish struggle and survival." Sue Giffard, writing in School Library Journal, described the book as "an insightful exploration of the effects of traumatic" life events. Giffard commended the research into the period, noting that "the historical background in both countries is well portrayed." Giffard felt that children in similar situations around the world "will take this story to their hearts." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews called the protagonist "a sad, bittersweet, sometimes resentful, and starkly realistic girl," which helped to make "an emotionally charged narrative." The same contributor commented that the story is both "poignant" and "heartbreaking," but had "a touching, positive conclusion."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of The Night of the Burning: Devorah's Story, p. 69.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 2006, Elizabeth Bush, review of The Night of the Burning, p. 194.
Horn Book Magazine, November 1, 2006, Susan Dove Lempke, review of The Night of the Burning, p. 728.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of The Night of the Burning, p. 854.
Kliatt, September, 2006, Janis Flint-Ferguson, review of The Night of the Burning, p. 19.
Language Arts, May, 2007, Barbara Chatton, review of The Night of the Burning, p. 497.
School Librarian, summer, 2007, Sarah Mears, review of The Night of the Burning.
School Library Journal, January, 2007, Sue Giffard, review of The Night of the Burning, p. 142.
Bookbag,http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/ (February 5, 2008), Jill Murphy, review of The Night of the Burning.
Deliciously Clean Reads,http://cleanreads.blogspot.com/ (October 30, 2007), author interview.
Linda Press Wulf Home Page,http://www.lindapresswulf.com (February 5, 2008), author biography.
MyShelf.com,http://www.myshelf.com/ (February 5, 2008), Beverly J. Rowe, review of The Night of the Burning.