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

Francesca Sasnaitis

Francesca Sasnaitis

Francesca Sasnaitis is a writer and artist. Originally from Melbourne, she now lives in Perth where she is a doctoral candidate in

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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

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