Return to Latvia

(Author) (Translator)
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Product Details
$17.95  $16.69
New Vessel Press
Publish Date
5.3 X 8.0 X 1.0 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author
Marina Jarre (1925-2016) was born in Riga to a Latvian Jewish father and an Italian Protestant mother. She spent her childhood in Latvia until 1935, when her parents separated and she moved to Italy to live with her maternal grandparents, among devout, French-speaking Protestants in a community southwest of Turin. Jarre wrote over a dozen novels, short story collections and nonfiction works.

Ann Goldstein is a former editor at the New Yorker. She has translated works by, among others, Elena Ferrante, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Alessandro Baricco, and is the editor of the Complete Works of Primo Levi in English. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and awards from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


"A lush and devastating chronicle of a woman's return to her birthplace to excavate her family's tumultuous past. Exquisitely written, this contemplative narrative takes you into the heart and mind of a woman in search of truth."--Shelly Sanders, author of Daughters of the Occupation

"A writer uncovers the cruel reality of her family's past ... A harrowing, culturally rich memoir."--Kirkus Reviews

"Return to Latvia is an introspective memoir that reckons with the generational trauma and fragmented memories found in the long shadow of the Holocaust."--Foreword Reviews (Starred review)

"Return to Latvia, which Jarre wrote in 2002 fol-low-ing a two-week trip to Latvia with one of her adult sons, rep-re-sents her final reck-on-ing with the father she hard-ly knew . . . She man-ages to piece togeth-er a his-to-ry of her Jew-ish ancestors and to uncov-er rela-tion-ships of which she was unaware . . . Ann Goldstein's lucid translation ends . . . in a moment tender and haunting."--Jewish Book Council

"A profoundly moving memoir . . . This is a story of Guilt with a capital 'G' . . . a fascinating book--not only a memoir like Distant Fathers, but a travelogue, an essay on the quest for truth."--ArtMuseLondon

"Jarre unfolds the collective history, trauma, and (post)memory of the Holocaust in Latvia . . . Return to Latvia is at the same time a novel, an autobiography, a memoir, a travelogue, an essay, and a writer's diary. It even resembles a detective story."--Reading in Translation

"A noble book ... that like those of Primo Levi should be read by everyone." --Indice dei libri del mese

"Jarre has a moral motivation: to understand behavior as much as possible, to peer into the abject abyss, to probe the reasons for a conspiracy of silence.--Corriere della Sera

"Marina Jarre is an original, powerful and incisive writer ... Her works―true, small-scale, essential masterpieces―have found passionate readers and critics and have an indisputable place in Italian literature of the past fifty years."--Claudio Magris, author of Danube and Blameless


"Recounts a life of displacement through rich sense memories ... The book's elliptical string of fragments captures the nonlinear nature of memory." --The New Yorker

"Although Jarre, who died at 90 in 2016, published more than dozen works of fiction and nonfiction ... Distant Fathers is the first of her books available in English. It must not be the last ... Written in lucid, luminous prose." --The Los Angeles Review of Books "A beautifully ingenious memoir, saturated in the history of the European 20th century, and made all the more compelling by Ann Goldstein's luminous translation."--Vivian Gornick, author of Fierce Attachments