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Posted February 12, 2014
"Who said memory is kind? Memory is merciless. My father was right. 'All the things you want to remember, Paullina, I want to forget'."
This is the personal story of Paullina Simons and her father going back to Leningrad prior to her writing The Bronze Horseman. It's the first time she had been back. While memory is a powerful thing, it's the differences between memory and reality that cause the most emotions, the most reactions. The memory of a child versus the reality of a grown woman is vastly different. "These three things:the smell of Shepelevo, the smell of the Metro and the taste of creme brulee ice cream. The essence of my childhood in Russia."
Through this memoir, PS has given us a glimpse into her life, her relationship with her father (I chuckled quite a few times at their exchanges because they are so typically father to daughter comments), her memories as a child and the stark reality of her visit as an adult. She has given us a wonderful account of her six days trying to reconcile her memories and the lives of those still in Leningrad with the life she now lives in America. Some guilt, some appreication, some saddness.
We are also given her personal impressions of visting and experiencing some of the sites related to the seige and liberation of Leningrad that her family survived. Just like the magic she created with her words in TBH, the way in which she describes her experiences at the Diorama and mass burial site is nothing short of heartbreaking and vivid that you cannot help but be right there with her and feel the emotions she is feeling.
Anyone who carries the story, emotions and love of Tatiana & Alexander with them, will no doubt love this book as well.
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