Tell Me A Sto­ry, Tell Me The Truth

  • Review
By – January 13, 2012
A child of Holo­caust sur­vivors who was born in a DP camp and immi­grat­ed to Cana­da as a tod­dler, Gina Roit­man writes from the heart in Tell Me a Sto­ry, Tell Me the Truth. Draw­ing on her own expe­ri­ences, Roitman’s con­nect­ed short sto­ries cen­ter around the char­ac­ter of Leah Smilovitz, a child caught between the real­i­ties of 1960’s Mon­tre­al and the mem­o­ries of her par­ents’ fam­i­lies who per­ished in the Holo­caust. What is it like to grow up sur­round­ed by the ghosts of dead mem­o­ries? Roit­man cap­tures this dilem­ma in pow­er­ful lan­guage. From some dark cav­ern, my moth­er let loose all her ghosts at once and they flew screech­ing into the room, swoop­ing and howl­ing with grief. The walls grew liq­uid with the heat of their anguish…and the ends of their gar­ments rip­pled past my face, leav­ing me shiv­er­ing.” In the inter­re­lat­ed sto­ries we meet neigh­bors and mem­bers of Leah’s fam­i­ly and learn about the fab­ric of their lives as immi­grants. There’s Katya, the beau­ti­ful Hun­gar­i­an who gets caught in an affair with a con­trol­ling, manip­u­la­tive man, and Her­mie, a child­hood friend with a seri­ous heart prob­lem. But Roitman’s most cap­ti­vat­ing chap­ters deal with Leah’s par­ents, the lega­cy of their Holo­caust expe­ri­ences, and how they impact the life of their Cana­di­an daughter.
Lau­ren Kramer is a Van­cou­ver-based jour­nal­ist, wife, and moth­er with a life­long pas­sion for lit­er­a­ture. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she has won awards for her writ­ing and report­ed from many cor­ners of the world. Read more of her work at www​.lau​renkramer​.net.

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