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Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of…
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Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming (2017 original; edició 2018)

de Inara Verzemnieks (Autor)

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545407,090 (4.28)7
A powerfully told memoir of family, separation, and the things left unsaid, in the wake of the Second World War.
Títol:Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming
Autors:Inara Verzemnieks (Autor)
Informació:W. W. Norton & Company (2018), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca

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Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming on the War Roads of Europe de Inara Verzemnieks (2017)

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Es mostren totes 5
This is a remarkable book. A combination of personal memoir and deeply researched history, it is written in a looping, dreamy way, lyrical and ordinary at the same time. The author's metaphors are original and striking. Her vocabulary of structural decay (of abandoned houses and bombed out buildings) is in itself worth the price of admission. I learn much of my history through fiction or creative non-fiction and this book led me to a much deeper understanding of the plight of the Latvians during and after WWII. Also, the parallels of the fate of the Latvians to that of the present day Ukrainians under Putin's onslaught make the book even more timely and relevant. It turns out that the "filtration camps" which Ukrainians are being sent to, in Russia, against their will, is nothing but a continuation of the forced evacuations perpetrated on the Latvians under Stalin. But seriously, read this book for its, stark beauty, its original metaphors, and the deep emotion of a truly great personal memoir, uncovered slowly over time. ( )
  downstreamer | Jun 23, 2022 |
While this one started slow, it became fascinating. My grandparents experienced some of this a few hundred miles further west. This book connects memories, family stories, folk tales, history, and, maybe most importantly, talks about all the unspoken events that happened at the end of WW2 in so many places. Btw, US attitude towards immigrants back then not very different from today. ( )
  WiebkeK | Jan 21, 2021 |
Lovely exploration of family -- and lost -- memory. Is it usually true that our forbears try to hide the painful memories of the past? I wonder if that is one of the roots of our bad history-telling even in school. If we can't tell -- or bear -- the truth about our own families, then how can we bear the truths of our communities and nations? Verzemnieks quote Rebecca West - it's hard to examine "what history meant in flesh and blood." Especially in places where violence has been the rule, not the exception -- Verzemniek's Latvia, witness of "centuries of migration and flight;" my Scotland and Ireland, home of dispossession, colonization and famine; or the deep wounds of slavery, genocide and mass dispossession. Americans especially think of ourselves as geneology fans, but I suspect it's mostly for the feel-good stories of overcoming adversity and achievement, the unbearable losses and the ones who fell by the wayside, were erased, never made it off the ships -- or who never managed to board in the first place. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
There are a thousand stories like the one that this book tells. When you ask a Latvian (or Lithuanian, or an Estonian, or a person from any other small nation that has been occupied on and off for centuries), everyone has a war story of loss and trauma and separation. That is why my relatives in Latvia were nonplussed when they heard that my farther's story would be written and published years ago. This story is distinct from any other I have read for its seamlessly inter-woven non-linear plot, its evocative and poetic language, and the emotional kick that the combination delivers.

Inara, the author, was raised by her Latvian grandparents who were settled in the US as refugees from WWII. Throughout her childhood she is kept up with Latvian ways in part by the existence of a strong community in the place her grandparents were settled, but mostly because her carers have a deep sense of place and an intense love of and mourning for their place birth. The sense of loss that her displaced grandmother has is palpable, and Inara traces her and her families histories throughout the course of this book.

The story unfolds beautifully, and it retains its beauty and poetry throughout. Although it contains elements of both, this is not a book of war facts, nor a personal legacy book. What it is, is something altogether unique and could be read for the beautiful use of language alone. In addition, it parallels (to a certain degree) my own family history and so adds to what I know about some of the experiences my relatives faced. Anyone interested in WWII or refugees or history could read this book, it certainly gave me a renewed sense of empathy for those displaced by war. ( )
3 vota LovingLit | Jan 4, 2019 |
Inara Verzemnieks is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and has won several awards, least of which a creative nonfiction award. This creative nonfiction award so perfectly captures why this book is so incredible. Inara unravels her grandmother’s life in this nonfiction book as she eloquently takes us into the past while maintaining our grip on the present. Her grandmother, Livija, fled Latvia during WWII and was a refugee prior to making a new home in America. Inara, the author, details her experiences as she travels back to Latvia and digs into her family’s past. I have never visited Latvia or studied it’s culture, but Inara’s writing makes it so incredibly easy to visualize each scene.

For the full review visit: ( )
  JillRey | Oct 5, 2017 |
Es mostren totes 5
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A powerfully told memoir of family, separation, and the things left unsaid, in the wake of the Second World War.

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Mitjana: (4.28)
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