“We’d been trying to touch the sky
from the bottom of the ocean”
Ruta Sepety has taken one of the darkest eras in history, one that collected little attention from the youth of America (simply because we were not educated on it), and transformed it into a story that begs and breathes to be read. Before reading this book, I had never even heard of the Baltic Purges that took place in 20th Century Europe. These documented records are long overdue, and although the involved characters may be fiction, their stories are based on a truth that was kept hidden for decades.
The quote above is a metaphor for the distance in between sustainable living conditions and the near-death conditions the individuals in the labor camps are currently in. They are physically and emotionally at rock bottom (the bottom of the ocean), and are trying to reach a state that many take for granted each day (the sky).