Always from Somewhere Else: A Memoir of My Chilean Jewish Father

Always from Somewhere Else: A Memoir of My Chilean Jewish Father

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Feminist Press at CUNY, The

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Always from Somewhere Else: A Memoir of My Chilean Jewish Father

In the tradition of her critically acclaimed memoir of her mother, A Cross and a Star , Marjorie Agosín traces the life story of her father, Moisés Agosín, a doctor, scientist, and classical pianist whose life reflects the lives of so many Jews of his generation, who were destined to be always refugees, always "others"—always from somewhere else.

In the search for her father's origins, Agosín reaches into the past to the story of her grandparents, a tailor and a cigarette maker who met in Odessa in 1890. In their flight from persecution and their search for a better life, Abraham and Rachel Agosín traveled to Istanbul, then briefly to Marseilles, where Moisés is born in the interim between two long sea journeys, "saved from the waters" like the biblical Moses. The family's continuing search for a home brings them at last to Chile—first to the port city of Valparaiso and then to the fertile central valley, to Quillota, "city of churches and avocados," where they find a measure of stability but remain, outsiders.

Moisés Agosín studies in the capital, Santiago, and becomes a medical doctor and a respected research scientist. But decades after his parents' voyages, as Chile falls under the dictatorship of Pinochet, he takes his family on their final journey of exile, to the United States. Here he is once again treated as an outsider—this time, as a refugee from the "Third World." And here Marjorie herself grows up understanding that for her family, life has taken the form of a fragile, incongruous thread, destined to be spent "roaming from country to country, waiting for letters, inventing new languages, remembering distant ones".

Marjorie Agosín weaves stories from the past and reflections from the present into a unique, poetic memoir. Her homage to her father becomes much more than a simple life story; it is a captivating and moving meditation on the boundaries of national and cultural identities, the meanings of exile and home, and the legacies of storytelling, memory, and love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781558612563
Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY, The
Publication date: 10/01/2000
Series: The Helen Rose Scheuer Jewish Women's Series Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 4.50(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Reading the Book of Memory11
Prologue: Crossings49
Origins: From Sebastopol to Valparaiso, 1910-192657
Quillota: City of Churches and Avocados, 1926-193989
The Arpeggios of Memory117
Santiago: Capital of Dreams and Fugues, 1940-1968131
The United States: Exiles in a Promised Land, 1968-1997185
Memory's Place219
Epilogue: My Father and I, Memories of Love251

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