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This title in other editions

A Family of Strangers

by

A Family of Strangers Cover

ISBN13: 9781932511444
ISBN10: 193251144x
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $7.95!

 

Review-A-Day

"The form of Tall's memoir may be its most remarkable feature. The judicious use of white space and spare, isolated sentences creates a startlingly quick pace for a book chronicling a painstaking search of more than twelve years....A Family of Strangers works to a significant extent precisely because its form seems so essentially connected to the experience it describes..." Ryan Van Meter, The Iowa Review (read the entire review from The Iowa Review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In her third book of nonfiction, Deborah Tall explores the genealogy of the missing. Haunted by her orphaned father's abandonment by his extended family, his secretive, walled-off trauma and absent history, she sets off in pursuit of the family he claims not to have. From the dutiful happiness of Levittown in the 1950s to a stricken former shtetlin Ukraine, we follow Tall's journey through evasions and lies. Reflecting on family secrecy, postwar American culture, and the urge for roots, Tall's search uncovers not just a missing family but an understanding of the part family and history play in identity. A Family of Strangers is Tall's life's work, told in such exacting, elegant language that the suppressed past vividly asserts its place in the present.

Review:

"Tall, poet and editor of the Seneca Review, has long championed a form called the lyric essay, which employs the associative movement and lyrical suggestiveness of poetry while also maintaining the familiar narrative structures and conventional organization of prose. In a singular extended work in this form, Tall (Summons) constructs a powerful account of her search for the origins of her Ukrainian Jewish family; her parents and other relatives emigrated to the U.S. around WWII and proceeded to disavow their past in an effort to overcome traumatic memories of pogroms and Nazi genocide. Throughout her upbringing, Tall's parents maintained a strict, if suspicious, silence about their relatives and lives before emigrating, leaving Tall, now a wife and mother of two daughters, desperate for information about her family history. In short chapters bearing repeated titles ('Anatomy of Secrecy,' 'The Dream of Family'), Tall movingly traces her genealogical quest, which leads her to the discovery of her family's pre — Ellis Island name (Talesnick), the revelation of a forgotten uncle abandoned to a mental institution and, finally, a meeting with her family's last ailing matriarch near Ladyzin, Ukraine. This deeply affecting account offers new formal avenues for memoir while providing a necessary piece of the ever-unfolding puzzle of 20th-century Jewish diaspora." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Without self-absorption, Tall traces the self's emergence in a place which she recognized from the start as hertesting place." Seamus Heaney

Review:

"In the literature of place, Deborah Tall's book stands out for its delicacy, range of learning, and refreshing frankness." Phillip Lopate

Synopsis:

A dazzling memoir uncovering the lost history of a secretive Jewish family.

Synopsis:

“Without self-absorption, Tall traces the self’s emergence in a place which she recognized from the start as her testing place.”—Seamus Heaney

 

“In the literature of place, Deborah Tall’s book stands out for its delicacy, range of learning, and refreshing frankness.”—Phillip Lopate

 

In her third book of nonfiction, Deborah Tall explores the genealogy of the missing. Haunted by her orphaned father’s abandonment by his extended family, his secretive, walled-off trauma and absent history, she sets off in pursuit of the family he claims not to have. From the dutiful happiness of Levittown in the 1950s to a stricken former shtetl in Ukraine, we follow Tall’s journey through evasions and lies. Reflecting on family secrecy, postwar American culture, and the urge for roots, Tall’s search uncovers not just a missing family but an understanding of the part family and history play in identity. A Family of Strangers is Tall’s life’s work, told in such exacting, elegant language that the suppressed past vividly asserts its place in the present.

Deborah Tall is the author of four books of poems, most recently Summons, published by Sarabande Books after Charles Simic chose it for the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize. She has also published two previous two books of nonfiction, The Island of the White Cow: Memories of an Irish Island and From Where We Stand: Recovering a Sense of Place, and co-edited the anthology The Poet's Notebook with Stephen Kuusisto and David Weiss. Tall has taught writing and literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and edited its literary journal, Seneca Review, since 1982. She lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband David Weiss and their two daughters.

About the Author

Deborah Tall is the author of four books of poems, most recently Summons, published by Sarabande Books after Charles Simic chose it for the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize. She has also published two previous two books of nonfiction, The Island of the White Cow: Memories of an Irish Island and From Where We Stand: Recovering a Sense of Place, and co-edited the anthology The Poet's Notebook with Stephen Kuusisto and David Weiss. Tall has taught writing and literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and edited its literary journal, Seneca Review, since 1982. She lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband David Weiss and their two daughters.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

S Holladay, November 13, 2014 (view all comments by S Holladay)
This memoir, by Deborah Tall, the originator of the lyric essay, is one I keep coming back to and giving to people. She writes from a place of not knowing, filling in gaps where she has no information, because of diaspora or her father's secrecy. This is a great book for anyone dealing with loss and putting the pieces back together.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
S Holladay, November 13, 2014 (view all comments by S Holladay)
This memoir, by Deborah Tall, the originator of the lyric essay, is one I keep coming back to and giving to people. She writes from a place of not knowing, filling in gaps where she has no information, because of diaspora or her father's secrecy. This is a great book for anyone dealing with loss and putting the pieces back together.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781932511444
Author:
Tall, Deborah
Publisher:
Sarabande Books
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Genealogy
Subject:
Jewish - General
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Subject:
Family Relationships
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20061131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
260
Dimensions:
9.00 x 6.00 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Religion » Judaism » History
Religion » Judaism » Jewish Biographies
Religion » Judaism » Jewish History
Religion » Judaism » Thought and Culture

A Family of Strangers Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 260 pages Sarabande Books - English 9781932511444 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Tall, poet and editor of the Seneca Review, has long championed a form called the lyric essay, which employs the associative movement and lyrical suggestiveness of poetry while also maintaining the familiar narrative structures and conventional organization of prose. In a singular extended work in this form, Tall (Summons) constructs a powerful account of her search for the origins of her Ukrainian Jewish family; her parents and other relatives emigrated to the U.S. around WWII and proceeded to disavow their past in an effort to overcome traumatic memories of pogroms and Nazi genocide. Throughout her upbringing, Tall's parents maintained a strict, if suspicious, silence about their relatives and lives before emigrating, leaving Tall, now a wife and mother of two daughters, desperate for information about her family history. In short chapters bearing repeated titles ('Anatomy of Secrecy,' 'The Dream of Family'), Tall movingly traces her genealogical quest, which leads her to the discovery of her family's pre — Ellis Island name (Talesnick), the revelation of a forgotten uncle abandoned to a mental institution and, finally, a meeting with her family's last ailing matriarch near Ladyzin, Ukraine. This deeply affecting account offers new formal avenues for memoir while providing a necessary piece of the ever-unfolding puzzle of 20th-century Jewish diaspora." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "The form of Tall's memoir may be its most remarkable feature. The judicious use of white space and spare, isolated sentences creates a startlingly quick pace for a book chronicling a painstaking search of more than twelve years....A Family of Strangers works to a significant extent precisely because its form seems so essentially connected to the experience it describes..." (read the entire review from The Iowa Review)
"Review" by , "Without self-absorption, Tall traces the self's emergence in a place which she recognized from the start as hertesting place."
"Review" by , "In the literature of place, Deborah Tall's book stands out for its delicacy, range of learning, and refreshing frankness."
"Synopsis" by ,
A dazzling memoir uncovering the lost history of a secretive Jewish family.
"Synopsis" by ,

“Without self-absorption, Tall traces the self’s emergence in a place which she recognized from the start as her testing place.”—Seamus Heaney

 

“In the literature of place, Deborah Tall’s book stands out for its delicacy, range of learning, and refreshing frankness.”—Phillip Lopate

 

In her third book of nonfiction, Deborah Tall explores the genealogy of the missing. Haunted by her orphaned father’s abandonment by his extended family, his secretive, walled-off trauma and absent history, she sets off in pursuit of the family he claims not to have. From the dutiful happiness of Levittown in the 1950s to a stricken former shtetl in Ukraine, we follow Tall’s journey through evasions and lies. Reflecting on family secrecy, postwar American culture, and the urge for roots, Tall’s search uncovers not just a missing family but an understanding of the part family and history play in identity. A Family of Strangers is Tall’s life’s work, told in such exacting, elegant language that the suppressed past vividly asserts its place in the present.

Deborah Tall is the author of four books of poems, most recently Summons, published by Sarabande Books after Charles Simic chose it for the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize. She has also published two previous two books of nonfiction, The Island of the White Cow: Memories of an Irish Island and From Where We Stand: Recovering a Sense of Place, and co-edited the anthology The Poet's Notebook with Stephen Kuusisto and David Weiss. Tall has taught writing and literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and edited its literary journal, Seneca Review, since 1982. She lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband David Weiss and their two daughters.

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