Opening linesThat's a quote. The short prologue, which helped me understand what that means, ends with these words:
When they awoke next morning, she said, "I had an important dream last night. I dreamed that the old mother had left the house, and that the girls were alone."
— F. R. Kreutzwald (trans. W. F. Kirby) from "The Gold Spinners," an Estonian folk tale
Estonia had taught me a thing or two. ... the key word of my trip turned out to be the one I'd always known: vanaema. It meant "grandmother," but the literal translation was "old mother." Before I went to Estonia, my idea of "old mother" represented two things: the character I feared becoming, and the heritage I was missing.Summary of the book:
A resurfacing writer hits the sauna, bares it all, and learns the true meaning of saga. In her latest work, the award-winning author separates from her family for a surprising journey into the difficult past and precarious present of Estonia, the former Soviet state of her heritage. Embarking on a journey to learn the fate of her great-great-grandmother Anna, she encounters World War II ghosts, Vikings, crones, recycled meat, a seven-ton prehistoric bull, gray hairs, and the ultimate librarian, but finds no bully bigger than Putin — or is it her own self-doubt? — in an adventure that delivers surprising lessons from her foremothers about happiness, autonomy, women’s legacies, and the writer’s life.
Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.