The Story of the Forest

Linda Grant

An “epic and marvelously entertaining” family saga by award-winning author Linda Grant about the European Jewish experience from WWI to the present day, that “constantly moves forward even as it looks sorrowfully back” (Financial Times).

About the Book

It’s 1913 when Mina, the young and carefree daughter of a Jewish merchant, roams into a forest on the edge of the Baltic Sea looking for mushrooms. Instead, she encounters a gang of unruly, charismatic Bolsheviks—an adventure that will become the stuff of familial lore for generations to come. Intending to save her from further corruption, and in an act that forever changes the trajectory of their family’s life, Mina and her eldest brother, Jossel, board a ship to England.

There the threat of a different war looms large. When WWI hits, Jossel is sent to the front, where he keeps a severely wounded soldier in his unit alive ‘til morning by telling him tales—including that his sister Mina will marry him if he survives. The soldier lives and asks for Mina’s hand, their marriage uniting two growing trade dynasties. But over time Mina and Jossel will learn that not everyone in their family has survived the wars and pogroms, even as they and their offspring struggle to build new lives in Liverpool in the midst of ever-shifting discriminations.


Based on the author’s own family history and legends, The Story of the Forest is a remarkable record of family lore; a meditation on the power of stories to ground us, particularly in the face of life’s inevitable losses, told with a keen wit and a sharp eye to the charms and the foibles of family by masterful British novelist Linda Grant.