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Give Us This Day by Helena Wisniewska Brow
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Give Us This Day (original 2014; edition 2016)

by Helena Wisniewska Brow (Author)

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In June 1944, when 14-year-old Stefan Wisniewski stood by his mother's dusty Tehran grave, he knew his world was about to change again, forever. Give Us This Day: a Memoir of Family and Exile explores the story of one of the 732 Polish child survivors of wartime Soviet deportation offered unlikely refuge in New Zealand. Seventy years later, and no closer to a longed-for Polish homecoming, Stefan's New Zealand-born daughter revisits his past. What is the burden her father has carried all these years? And why is he unable - or unwilling - to let it go? With an aging father and the ghost of a namesake aunt as her guides, Helena Wisniewska Brow searches for meaning in the family lives shaped by exile: her father's, her mother's and her own.… (more)
Member:KWharton
Title:Give Us This Day
Authors:Helena Wisniewska Brow (Author)
Info:Victoria University Press (2016), 255 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:to-read

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Give Us This Day: A Memoir of Family and Exile by Helena Wisniewska Brow (2014)

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Epigraph
The place where you are right now,
God circled on a map for you.

- Hafiz
Dedication
To my parents - Stefan and Olga Wiśniewski
First words
In May 1988, I stood on a Polish riverbank with my father and my uncle, looking at the Soviet Union.
Quotations
I'm a poor audience for my memory.
She wants me to attend to her voice non-stop,
But I fidget, fuss,
Listen and don't,
Step out, come back, then leave again.

- Wisława Szymborska, 'Hard Life with Memory'
By a great swift water
On a stony bank
A human skull was lying
And shouting: Allah la ilah.

And in that cry such horror
And such supplication
So great was its despair
That I asked the helmsman:

For what can it still cry out? Of what is it still afraid?
What divine judgement could strike it yet again?

- Aleksander Wat, 'From Persian Parables'
The porch whose doors face the west
Has large windows. The sun warms it well.

- Czesław Miłosz, 'The Porch'
our fear
does not rise on the wings of the tempest
does not sit on a church tower
it is down-to-earth

it has the shape
of a bundle made in haste
with warm clothing
provisions
and arms

- Zbigniew Herbert, 'Our Fear'
I would like not to be
I would like to fall asleep
and wake up after the war
she would say with her eyes shut

- Tadeusz Różewicz, 'Leave Us Alone'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In June 1944, when 14-year-old Stefan Wisniewski stood by his mother's dusty Tehran grave, he knew his world was about to change again, forever. Give Us This Day: a Memoir of Family and Exile explores the story of one of the 732 Polish child survivors of wartime Soviet deportation offered unlikely refuge in New Zealand. Seventy years later, and no closer to a longed-for Polish homecoming, Stefan's New Zealand-born daughter revisits his past. What is the burden her father has carried all these years? And why is he unable - or unwilling - to let it go? With an aging father and the ghost of a namesake aunt as her guides, Helena Wisniewska Brow searches for meaning in the family lives shaped by exile: her father's, her mother's and her own.

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