Shoshanna's Story by Elaine Kalman Naves
Winner of The Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction in 2003
At the end of the Second World War, a survivor of Auschwitz makes her way home to Hungary. Of all her family, only she and one sister have survived the camps; her young officer husband disappeared into Russia years before. Believing herself a widow, Shoshanna falls under the protection of an older man who, like her, lost everything in the Holocaust. She gives birth to this man’s child by the time her beloved soldier returns, and she has to make a choice that will cloud her life – and her daughter’s – ever after.
Elaine Kalman Naves is the daughter whose earliest memories are of growing up with the consequences of that decision. Shoshanna raised Elaine with a torrent of family lore and all-too-vivid memories: the glamorous and eccentric aunts; handsome suitors and faithless husbands; death by order of the state and murder at the hands of a lover.
Shoshanna’s stories, haunting and vivid, were both a gift and a burden to her daughter. This is a lush and exotic family memoir set against momentous events yet timeless in its truth-telling lessons.
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