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Once, Only the Swallows Were Free by…
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Once, Only the Swallows Were Free

by Gabrielle Gouch

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Once, Only the Swallows Were Free is a memoir by Gabrielle Gouch as she reflects on her life,on her return to her homeland to visit her brother.

Gabrielle and her family wait day after day in hope for a letter from the Romanian Government to say their application to emmigrate to Israel had been accepted. The family dreamt of a new start away from communism and the persecution of Jews.
After many years they did get to emmigrate to Israel. However they were not permitted to take any money or valuables with them. They left destitute but eager to start their new free life.Leaving behind everything they owned did not worry them but leaving behind a son and brother was a heart wrenching decision.

Gabrielle is now, after many years apart, starting a new relationship with her brother.As she gets to know her brother again she also obtains insight into her father and mother and their life.

This is more than just a story about Gabrielle's life but more a combination of Tom's story and his parents story plus their father Stefan and Gabrielle's mother Roza's story. Sometimes the stories are seperate and at other times they all converge into one.

Gabrielle reflects on her fathers passing.
"A man who was a Jew but not Jewish enough, an Israeli but not quite, a Hungarian Jew among Romanians and a Jew among Hungarians."
She felt like he never really quite belonged anywhere. There was no "real" place for him.

Gabrielle writes with warmth and joy. Telling of love found and lost. Having to constantly live in fear of being persecuted for saying the wrong thing. However, she puts a lot of emphasis on the good times and the fun she had with her older brother when she was young.
Her journey back to Romania is a journey of making peace with her past.
This is not a depressing story but a story full of courage, hope and dreams.A very moving read.

I received this book from the author to read and review. ( )
  Ronnie293 | Mar 12, 2014 |
Moving memoir about emigration and its ramifications on those who go and those who stay, in this case behind the iron curtain. For my full review please see Whispering Gums at: http://whisperinggums.com/2013/12/12/gabrielle-gouch-once-only-the-swallows-were...
  minerva2607 | Jan 3, 2014 |
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