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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 on the War…

by Inara Verzemnieks

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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: https://fortheloveofthepageblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/iowa-city-book-festival-2017-among-the-living-and-the-dead-by-inara-verzemnieks/ ( )
  JillRey | Oct 5, 2017 |
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"'It's long been assumed of this region, where my grandmother was born, ...that at some point each year the dead will come home,' Inara Verzemnieks writes in this heartrending story of war, exile, and reconnection. Her grandmother's stories recalled one true home: the family farm left behind in Latvia during the Second World War. There, her grandmother Livija and her great-aunt, Ausma, were separated. Livija fled the fighting to become a refugee; Ausma was exiled to Siberia under Stalin: the sisters would not see each other again for more than fifty years. Raised by her grandparents in Washington State, Inara grew up among expatriates, scattering smuggled Latvian sand over the coffins of the dead, singing folk songs about a land she had never visited. In a box of her grandmother's belongings, Inara discovers the scarf Livija wore when she left home. This tangible remnant of the past points the way back to the remote village where her family broke apart. In Latvia, Inara comes to know Ausma, her family, their land and its stories, and there pieces together Livija's survival through years as a refugee. Weaving together these two parts of the family story in spellbinding, lyrical prose, Verzemnieks gives us a profound and cathartic account of love, loss, and survival."--Jacket.… (more)

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