Grinkevičiūtė’s  posthumous record of life in a Soviet forced labour camp stands not just as testament to her endurance in the face of unimaginable hardships , but also of man’s capacity to inflict suffering not out of a sense of innate evilness, but more from a more everyday and banal sense of selfishness and desire to conform.

That the story is told in the present tense from the perspective of a teenage girl only adds to the sense of horror and indignation about the conditions people were forced to endure in these labour camps. Whether it be the systematic violence and torture which they went through, or the food shortages, or the psychological suffering they experienced, Grinkevičiūtė dissects not just the wider political conditions which created the labour camps, but also how how we react to these situations is reflective of our own individual personalities; the people who are inclined to selflessness will choose to help others, whereas the more selfish people will use the situation to their advantage.

Grinkevičiūtė’s raw and unpolished style adds a further layer of authenticity to her account, with ‘Shadows on the Tundra’ capturing the sufferings of people who otherwise would have been long forgotten.