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In a quiet forest in Belarus, two boys make a gruesome find that reveals a long-kept secret: the mass grave where Stalin’s police buried thousands of murder victims in the 1930s. The results of the subsequent investigation—30,000 dead—has far-reaching effects, and across the Atlantic in Toronto, young lawyer Leah Jarvis finds herself tasked with an impossible case: the trial of elderly Stefan Drozd, a former member of Stalin’s forces, who fled his crimes in Kurapaty for a new identity in Canada. Though Leah is convinced of Drozd’s guilt, she needs hard facts. Determined to bring him to justice, she travels to Belarus in search of witnesses—and finds herself piecing together another set of evidence: her mother’s death, her father’s absence, the shadows of her Jewish heritage. Lyrical and wrenching by turns, The Singing Forest is a profound investigation of memory, truth, and the stories that tell us who we are.
Judith McCormack was born in Evanston, and grew up in Toronto, with several years in Montreal and Vancouver. She is Jewish through her mother, and her maternal grandparents came from Belarus and Lithuania, with her father contributing his Scots-Irish heritage. Her writing has been shortlisted for the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Fiction Prize, the Journey Prize and the Amazon First Novel Award, and her short stories have appeared in the Harvard Review, Descant, The Fiddlehead, Coming Attractions and Best Canadian Stories. She also has several law degrees, which first introduced her to story-telling, and is a recipient of the Law Society Medal and The Guthrie Award for access to justice.
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