Dreams And Shadows
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Dreams And Shadows

by Radka Yakimov
     
 

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Dreams and Shadows is a story about the lives of people trapped in the oppressive reality of a totalitarian regime. This is Bulgaria, a Balkan country, which was overrun by the Red Army on September 9, 1944 and became one of the "satellites" to the former USSR. It remained in the Soviet orbit of influence until November 10, 1989. This is a story of lost futures…  See more details below

Overview

Dreams and Shadows is a story about the lives of people trapped in the oppressive reality of a totalitarian regime. This is Bulgaria, a Balkan country, which was overrun by the Red Army on September 9, 1944 and became one of the "satellites" to the former USSR. It remained in the Soviet orbit of influence until November 10, 1989. This is a story of lost futures, struggles, survival, and quest for freedom; a journey along a road paved with broken dreams and dashed hopes. The story begins with a child's recollections: from the carpet bombings the capital city of Sofia was subjected to during 1943 and 1944, to the dramatic changes after September 9, 1944 and how they affected the everyday lives of the people of Bulgaria. It also describes the hopes and disappointments of the people affected by "the changes" after 1989: the attempt to reconnect, after a long separation, with one's country of birth, only to come to the realization that one does not belong there anymore, yet is never really emotionally free from it.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2015-03-10
Yakimov (Ashes of Wars, 2011, etc.) remembers her childhood and adolescence in Cold War Bulgaria.Yakimov begins her memoir with accounts of the bomber raids on Sofia during the dark days of the second world war, when her family and neighbors would crouch in the basement awaiting their unknown fates. From the death of Czar Boris III and the arrival of the Stalinists to her eventual escape through West Germany and on to Canada in the 1960s, Yakimov documents her youth in the impoverished People's Republic of Bulgaria. She began keeping a diary in 1952; her father noted her dedication to it: "Is your diary a reflection of your life, or are you living for the sake of the diary?" The document (some of it reprinted here) serves as the departure point for the memoir: a memory-jogger and primary source that recorded her preoccupations and conjectures regarding her family, education, and future. The Yakimov of the present, with the benefit of perspective and the pull of nostalgia, relates the quirks of her friends and relations, anecdotes and experiences proving that, regardless of circumstance, people behave like people—humorously, aspirationally, sometimes selflessly. The prose is a pleasure to read: Yakimov has a great sense of image and narrative that fixes the reader in her gritty world. Additionally, she's a tremendous writer of the human spirit. Her empathy for individuals is great even as her criticism of institutions is barbed. A sense of loss (for both the Bulgaria of her parents' youth and the Bulgaria of her own) haunts the prose like smoke that won't disappear. While the account of conditions under the communists is fascinating, the heart of the text lies in the minutiae of Yakimov's household: her stoic father, her strong-willed mother, her family's lore and hardship. The memoir accomplishes the admirable task of humanizing people who lived under an increasingly dehumanizing system. Readers will be thankful so much has been remembered and recorded yet conscious of how much more has been lost.An affecting memoir of circumstance, absence, and renewal.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780595390717
Publisher:
iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
07/18/2006
Pages:
252
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)

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