Return to Latvia by Marina Jarre
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Translator: Ann Goldstein
Building upon her celebrated autobiography Distant Fathers, Italian author Marina Jarre returns to her native Latvia for the first time since she left as a ten-year-old girl in 1935. In Return to Latvia—a masterful collage-like work that is part travelogue, part memoir, part ruminative essay—she looks for traces of her murdered father whom she never bid farewell. Jarre visits the former Jewish ghetto of Riga and its southern forest, where tens of thousands were slaughtered in a 1941 mass execution by Nazi death squads with active participation by Latvian collaborators. Here she attempts to reconcile herself with her past, or at least to heal the wounds of a truncated childhood. Piecing together documents and memories, Return to Latvia explores immense guilt, repression, and the complicity of Latvians in the massacres of their Jewish neighbors, highlighting vast Holocaust atrocities that occurred outside the confines of death camps and in plain view.
Year first published: 2023