Weather of the Heart: A Child's Journey out of Revolutionary Russiaby Nora Lourie Percival
Weather of the Heart is a unique offering. From the perspective of the 21st century, the author looks back with a clear eye to the turbulent days following the Russian Revolution. Nora Percival's research sheds light on her personal story, the story so many of us long to hear from grandparents who were unable or unwilling to look back beyond the emigre's voyage to another life and another world. After a long busy life in America, the author felt impelled to learn about the family she'd left in Samara, the city on the Volga where she was born. After glasnost she was finally able to return there and find the places, though not the people, of her youth.
Her search resurrected childhood memories of revolution, civil war, famine and exile, which she felt impelled to share, "to speak for so many others who have silently endured the loss of all they valued." The reader will meet the extended family that faced many trials in those chaotic years (of which present conditions in Russia are reminiscent), and will be moved by their steadfast togetherness through want and woe -- Babushka, the heart of the home, who fed and mothered them all; debonair Adolf (Papa), who lost all he had gained in a lifetime of struggle; elegant Olga (Mamma), whose brief happiness died under the fear and loneliness the years brought; the playful cousins and the loving aunts; and the child who saw and felt it all and grew up to tell their story. You will share the love and courage that sustained them and helped them survive hunger and despair, the humor that cheered dreary days under a capricious regime and the strength that carried them through affliction and calamity. You will cry over their sorrows and enjoy their triumphs -- and they will live again in your memory.
- High Country Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
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Nora Percival began her life as a pampered, well-loved child in Samara, Russia, on the banks of the Volga River. Her father was a businessman, her mother a talented pianist. Her early years were fun and happy, and Nora was a bubbly, curious child. Soon, though, upheaval overtook her life with the advent of the Russian Revolution. Nora¿s father, targeted by the Communist regime, escaped to America, leaving behind Nora and her mother, a woman in fragile health who suffered from depression. The two were forced to move in with Nora¿s grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins in a small apartment, where food and heat were scarce. Everyone, from the wealthy to the poorest, suffered during this time. Starvation was rampant and Nora¿s family became alarmed when first small domestic animals disappeared, then small children. Nora¿s father finally managed to get funds to the family, and eventually Nora and her mother sailed to America. But Nora¿s mother¿s homesickness sent them back across the ocean, only as far as England, where Nora¿s mother was hospitalized and Nora ended up first in a work house, then in a hostel for transmigrates, where she anxiously awaited word from her father and longed to be back in America.
What an interesting, wonderful story. Nora is a prodigious child who learns to read at an early age and teaches herself English. Her effervescent personality shines throughout the book, and one feels sorrow for such a young girl forced to live in horrific depravity, while taking on adult responsibilities and caring for her mother, whose depression never lessens. Percival excels at drawing the reader into her story with rich descriptives and prolific insight enmeshed within a period of history that is as fascinating as it is tragic. Historic buffs will appreciate a first-hand look at the events leading up to the Russian Revolution as well as those during and after. Excellent book. Highly recommended.
If you're wishing you'd pushed harder to get Nana to tell you what things were like in the 'old country' or if you want your grandchildren to understand what you can't quite put into words about your own journey, this is a book you must have and pass along.