WHAT LANGUAGE DO I DREAM IN? A Memoir


WHAT LANGUAGE DO I DREAM IN? A Memoir

ELENA LAPPIN    Book Number: 84440    Product format: Hardback

A multiple émigré, Elena's decision to write in English was the result of many wanderings. Russian, Czech, German, Hebrew and finally English, each language is a link to a different piece of her rich family mosaic. At the age of 47 and during a busy bustling family meal with her husband and three children in 2002, Lena received an unexpected phone call naming her biological father as Joseph Schneider, his real family name Minster, Americans living in Moscow and that her grandfather had once been an undercover agent for the Soviet Union. The entire family had emigrated as Jews in 1973 to New York. Lena knew it to be true and something clicked. Thus began a quest to understand the multi-layered history of her family's wanderings through Russia, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Israel, Canada, America and Britain. Lappin examines her life in these countries and their languages and is finally able to find her home in exile. Sparkling with vitality, humour and genuine charm that English readers will love, it is an uplifting story of our past and present selves, rival identities and loyalties and those who find their lives suspended between nations, cultures and languages particularly in the post-war political upheaval. 310pp. Remainder mark.
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ISBN 9781554684632
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Customer ratings for WHAT LANGUAGE DO I DREAM IN? A Memoir

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Average rating: 5
Great
from Anonymous on 13/09/2018
Born in Russia, the author moved with her mother to start a new life in Prague with her new step-father, and quickly became acclimatised, picking up her new language as seamlessly as only a young child can do. However, contrary to expectations, the political situation throughout Europe, and later economic necessity, caused numerous further moves, and a series of uprootings and resettlings followed, with the repeated adoption of new homelands and new cultures.

As a result, she became proficient in five languages, not only in speech but also in writing, with a fluency I both admire and envy. Then one day, as a wife and mother, she received a phone call out of the blue, that shook the foundations of her existence.

I found her narrative style, of switching from present, to past, to future and back again, occasionally confusing and rather irritating. However, it is a fascinating saga of resilience, and makes an intriguing read.