Never before has a book—much less a literary novella—had such an impact on my sense of place. Patrin’s European travels as a young woman, her homecoming to Victoria, and then her journey to find traces of her family and heritage in Czechoslovakia simultaneously conjured within me an intense wanderlust, a fierce sense of belonging, and an acute yearning for home. Not only that, it made me thankful for the strong relationships I have with my family—especially my grandparents—and grateful that I have never had to question where I come from (something that I’ve never had cause to consider). Packaged in a gorgeously crafted narrative that often reads more like poetry than prose, this little tale will stay with me for much longer than the ninety minutes it took for me to absorb.
No. 11 on my challenge, though technically it was a gift. Good thing, too, because I don’t know that I’d be able to return it. This one has found a forever home on my shelf.
Don’t be afraid. I won’t smite you. Probably.