Among the Living and the Dead
Raised by her Latvian grandparents in Washington State, Inara Verzemnieks grew up among expatriates, scattering smuggled Latvian sand over the coffins of the dead, singing folk songs with other children about a land none of them had visited. Her grandmother’s stories re-created in vivid, nostalgic detail the family farm she’d left behind in a borderland violently contested during the Second World War. In the fighting, her grandmother Livija and her grandmother’s sister, Ausma, were separated and would not see each other again for more than fifty years.Journeying back to the remote village where her family broke apart, Inara comes to know Ausma and the trauma of her exile to Siberia under Stalin, while reconstructing Livija’s survival through her years as a refugee. In bringing together these two sides of the family story, Inara honors both sisters in a deeply cathartic and moving account of loss, survival, resilience, and love.

Among the Living and the Dead Details

TitleAmong the Living and the Dead
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
ISBN039324511X
ISBN-139780393245110
Number of pages288 pages
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, History, Nonfiction, War, Cultural, Russia, World War II, European History, Literature, 20th Century, Biography Memoir, Biography

Among the Living and the Dead Review

  • Michael
    June 14, 2017
    Amazing book. amazing story! This book is so well written and calls on so many emotions. I love how the story is intertwined and makes you feel you are there experiencing/seeing/smelling what is being described. This is a fantastic telling of a incredible story. I highly recommend this book. I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway.
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  • Megan
    July 11, 2017
    I received an advanced reader's copy and I loved this book. I felt the emotions and passion of the author in this story. The writing reminds me of Garcia Marquez! I would recommend this book.
  • Rhonda Lomazow
    July 12, 2017
    An emotional beautifully written life story.We are drawn into the authors life traumas world an amazing tale.
  • Nancy Jarmin
    July 23, 2017
    Inara Verzemnieks writes of her family, both those in Washington State and in Latvia. She writes with the depth of one who, along with the comics her grandmother read to her, has absorbed family history and the songs, dances and myths of her heritage. With her, we experience the wartime tearing apart of family and the trauma of fleeing ones native land in the midst of battle. We feel the immigrants' fears for those who remained and endured decades of the brutal Soviet system. Following the fall Inara Verzemnieks writes of her family, both those in Washington State and in Latvia. She writes with the depth of one who, along with the comics her grandmother read to her, has absorbed family history and the songs, dances and myths of her heritage. With her, we experience the wartime tearing apart of family and the trauma of fleeing ones native land in the midst of battle. We feel the immigrants' fears for those who remained and endured decades of the brutal Soviet system. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, we travel with the writer to meet the family members who stayed. Along the beautiful, forested lanes of northern Latvia, we see the remains of farms, the nearly abandoned countryside, the desecration of the old family home. This is a collective memory of a family but also of a small, determined, country that has endured repeated foreign occupation and the wars of its large, powerful neighbors. The book is a study of human behavior, Baltic history and Latvian mythology. I highly recommend this lovely book.
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  • Katy
    June 22, 2017
    I received my copy free through Goodreads Firstreads.
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