Friday, September 18, 2015

Beginning ~ with an important dream

The Girls, Alone: Six Days in Estonia ~ by Bonnie J. Rough, 2015, memoir/travel narrative (Estonia)
Opening lines
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
That's a quote.  The short prologue, which helped me understand what that means, ends with these words:
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.


Elizabeth said...

Love the cover.

That would be scary to know your mother left even if it was a dream.

Thanks for sharing, and have a great weekend.

Silver's Reviews
My Book Beginnings

Bonnie Jacobs said...

"Old mother" is the literal translation, but it means "grandmother" in Estonian (or whatever language they speak in Estonia). That's what my quote from the Prologue has already taught me. I'm looking forward to reading this novella.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Wow, Elizabeth, I just visited your blog and want to read STONES IN THE ROAD by E. B. Moore (pub. date Oct. 6, 2015) because I'm intrigued by the beginning you posted:

"Joshua urges his horse through the iron gate. Hoping to find his father's headstone, he dismounts at one slab not yet covered with lichen and reads the name. It's not Father's. He reads it again. Hand to his beard, he compresses his lips. The name is his own."