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Joan Ivan has commented on (4) products.

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Prisoner of Heaven

Joan Ivan, January 3, 2013

The never ending story. Is there the possibility of a fourth to the series this year?
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The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
The Sense of an Ending

Joan Ivan, January 2, 2012

The most significant, concentrated exploration of memory, regret and aging I've encountered this last year. Every phrase, every detail so perfectly crafted in place, I read the entire work again, not to miss anything. What an extraordinary presentation!
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Undigested Past: The Holocaust in Lithuania.
Undigested Past: The Holocaust in Lithuania.

Joan Ivan, December 21, 2011

As a third generation Lithuanian-in-America, I never had any notion of the Holocaust in Lithuania. That was something awful that happen in Poland, right? The first glimmer came in an observation in Leon Uris' Exodus about the brutality of the Lithuanian guards. Surely not, I thought. Some mistaken identity. They all look alike, etc.
It was only when I first travelled in Lithuania -- on the highway between Vilnius and Kaunas --that I spotted a road marker for a monument to the more than 50,000 Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and dissidents killed by the Nazis. Stunned, I had no idea. No one in the family had ever mentioned anything about what occurred during WWII apart from the rigors of their current Soviet life.
Starting the conversation with both sides of my parents' families revealed bits of both sides. About who sympathized with whom when. About the brief, confusing time of independence from Russia. About who couldn't come up with proof of eight baptized grandparents for the Nazis.
Stunning, compulsive reading in Robert van Voren's exploration fills in an array of holes. His study is required reading for all of us tracing our ancestry and place in history for Lithuania.
Because once you know, you must learn more. Maybe to understand.
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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Shadow of the Wind

Joan Ivan, January 1, 2010

Mystery, history and fantasy. All wrapped up in a love song to a city that embodies all that: Barcelona.
You do a lot of walking, while knowing exactly where you are: in the inimitable soul the author evokes.
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