Fiction. With the German occupation and pacification of Belgrade in 1941, an uneasy sense of normalcy replaced the gunfire and the bombings. After weeks of home confinement, Yana Primuz, a sixteen-year-old Serbian girl, defies her mother's orders and slips out of the house to meet her friends, and to flirt with the boys. But a sudden Nazi roundup ensnares her. Shipped in a cattle car to a German work camp, Yana sees in the women's faces around her a reflection of her own terror. But wiping her tears she vows never to give in, to escape, to survive.
"YANA is a riveting, bleak look at one of history's great atrocities. Its unsparing personal narrative and unflinching depiction of the horrors of war will place it among the classics of its genre."—Jasper DeWitt
"It is Yana Primuz herself, known to be 'so good with words' who tells us of her forced removal as a teenager during WWII from Belgrade in Yugoslavia to a labor camp, Zella-Mehlis (historical, not a fiction), just south of Belsen in Germany. For years, she suffers from rape, from cold and hunger, is forced to kill, experiences love, observes a range of perpetrators and fellow victims who have us reeling as we read on toward a riveting ending. S. Sue McMillan and Paul M. Levitt, from this book's opening sentences through this young woman's liberation by the American army & beyond, create a Yana of authoritative voice—we are assured, by way of indisputable sensory detail, that she was there and now records the truth. This memoir-novel will frighten, thrill, enlighten, and serve as memorial for its readers of all ages."—William Heyen
"No one wants to be in the middle of a state of entropy that war can create, unable to predict what s to come and having things gradually decline into disorder. Yet, these authors skillfully drag us in. This novel is an incredible coming-of-age story of a young Serbian woman, Yana, who is abducted from Belgrade, after the German occupation in WWII to be used as slave labor, making guns at a German factory, who manages to survive despite being abused, raped, starved and to fall in love, thus escaping the hell she had lived for four, long years."—Biljana D. Obradovic
S. Sue McMillan was born in Jewell, Kansas, in 1929. Her father, an electrician, moved the family to Boulder, Colorado in the early 40s to take advantage of plentiful work prospects. Sue attended Boulder public schools and the University of Colorado. She spent four years with her husband, Claude, in Brazil in the late 50s, where three of her four children were born. Returning to the US, she completed a BA in Fine Arts at the University of Colorado in 1967. A prolific painter her entire life, she enjoyed some success in a number of local art galleries. In her 60s she took an interest in writing novels, meeting the real Yana by chance on a walk around a lake in Boulder. During subsequent walks, Yana related to Sue the story of this novel and agreed to allow Sue to write about it. Sue died in 2016 at the age of 86.Paul Levitt grew up in a family that revered education and thought that the measure of a great society was not how often it pandered to special interests, but how well it treated the poor. Newark, New Jersey was his place of birth. Here the author received a public education in reading and writing that aimed at accomplishment, not self- esteem. He moved to Los Angeles as a teenager. At the University of Colorado, he received a BA in philosophy and an MA in history. After a year in Florence, Italy, he attended Washington University in St. Louis and then matriculated at UCLA for an MA and a PhD in English. He has taught at the University of Colorado since 1964, with a stint as a visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His interests include travel, tennis, and swimming, but most of all the reading and writing of historical fiction, which has enabled him to visit the Jazz Age (Chin Music), McCarthyism (Dark Matters), immigrants to America (Come with Me to Babylon), 12th- century England (THE SAINT-MAKERS, Cross Cultural Communications, 2009), and Soviet Russia (Stalin's Barber).