The histories that shape us

In search of the author’s father
by
November 2020, no. 426
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Iva Glisic reviews 'The Other Side of Absence: Discovering my father’s secrets' by Betty O’Neill

The Other Side of Absence: Discovering my father’s secrets

by Betty O’Neill

Ventura Press, $32.99 pb, 324 pp

Buy this book

The histories that shape us

In search of the author’s father
by
November 2020, no. 426

The realisation that our parents are not exactly who we understood them to be can be a profound rite of passage. For some it comes with no forewarning: a random event leads to an accidental disclosure, or substantiates an old rumour. For others this realisation takes shape in a less acute though no less transformative manner. With The Other Side of Absence: Discovering my father’s secrets, Betty O’Neill pieces together her family history in an effort to learn more about her father, a stranger she briefly encountered when she was nineteen. What began as an innocuous exercise at a writers’ retreat would evolve into a three-year research project through which the author uncovers the riveting story of Antoni Jagielski – resistance fighter, Holocaust survivor, unsettled postwar migrant, and absent father.

Iva Glisic reviews 'The Other Side of Absence: Discovering my father’s secrets' by Betty O’Neill

The Other Side of Absence: Discovering my father’s secrets

by Betty O’Neill

Ventura Press, $32.99 pb, 324 pp

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