Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Whisperings in the Blood: A memoir' by Shelley Davidow

Whisperings in the Blood: A Memoir

by Shelley Davidow

University of Queensland Press $29.95 pb, 266 pp, 9780702253980

Shelley Davidow's multi-generational memoir begins in 1913 with her Jewish great-grandfather Jacob escaping the pogroms of tsarist Lithuania for the rigours of life in the American Midwest. The English language eludes Jacob, who struggles to make a decent living in his adopted country. Poverty contributes to his wife's untimely death. Jacob's son and daughter are consigned to a Jewish orphanage. Loss and sorrow seem to afflict Jacob's family, as if hardship is genetically encoded, and can be passed down to future generations along with his innate musicality.

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Published in May 2016, no. 381
Francesca Sasnaitis

Francesca Sasnaitis

Francesca Sasnaitis is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Western Australia and has recently completed her first novel, Summerlands, which is partially based on her family’s experience of World War II. 

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