BookView review: Key Number 17: A Ukrainian Grandfather’s Odyssey of Courage by George P. Tymitz

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Publication Date: February 22, 2023

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

ISBN:  978-1-63988-756-9

List Price: $18.99 USD Trade Paperback

Page Count: 444

Author interview

Tymitz explores the weight of secrets, the power of family, and the transcendence of courage in his outstanding novel, taking readers on an old man’s journey to redemption and peace. The hardships of his teenage years in pre-Revolutionary Ukraine are far behind for 78-year-old Olek Creshenko, who immigrated to the United States and has a large family there. But contentment and peace are something he still finds elusive. When his adolescent grandson ends up in hospital after getting brutally beaten by another boy, the old man knows he must help the teen find courage and inner strength and take a stand against bullies. But to do that he must revisit his own tortured past and make peace with it. Tymitz’s premise is credible, and his deft presentation of the main story through matter-of-fact, crisply told narrative and the pitch-perfect characterization, particularly of the main lead, Olek, who’s haunted by demons of his troubled past, keep the reader invested. The storyline is simple, and despite the book’s slender size, Tymitz succeeds in sprinkling some shocking surprises into the goings-on and simultaneously weaving in many complex and relevant themes, such as bullying, adolescent angst, courage, resilience, love, passion, determination, regret, and redemption.  Heartfelt, powerful, and emotionally complex, this is not to be missed.


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