“a fifty-year silence” by miranda richmond mouillot
memoir (noun) – a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.
this is a memoir, but half of the events are not those experienced by the author. the other half is the author’s personal accounts of researching those former events. the result is a beautiful comment on memories and heritage. in “a fifty-year silence,” mouillot digs into her grandparents’ past to find out if their history has a love story despite the fact that they haven’t spoken to each other in fifty years. she traipses through time to WWII and discovers the many hardships they endured together and apart. both are strong individuals having survived the holocaust. mouillot uses her skills as a historian (having studied it in college) and the fading memories of her grandparents. they are well into their old age and with a mix of memory loss and their resistance to speak about the ugliness of their past and what seems to be an extreme dislike for each other they supply her with an inconsistent and spotty account. the personal memoir aspect describes what it was like to research her grandparents under these conditions and how doing that in that particular time of her life changed her and her views of the past and the burden that seemed to come with the memories.
mouillot’s voice is eloquent and made the “history lesson” parts of the book not feel so much like a lesson, for the most part. there were times that passages read a bit like a text book, but they were infrequent. what I loved most was the almost poetic slant she could put on the fuzzy subject of memories. also, her love and respect for her grandparents was meritorious. she set out to uncover the truth and what she ended up with was a truth she hadn’t expected, a truth that shed light on all the “teachings” her grandparents imparted to her when she didn’t realize they were doing so. she discovered that the journey they took more than fifty years before her helped shape the happiness she found in her own life.
I received a copy of this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.