cover image We Share the Same Sky: A Memoir of Memory & Migration

We Share the Same Sky: A Memoir of Memory & Migration

Rachael Cerrotti. Blackstone, $26.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-09-415372-8

Cerrotti brings her podcast of the same name to the page with the gripping and deeply moving debut account of her late Jewish grandmother’s experience growing up in Nazi-occupied territory during WWII. Cerrotti set out in 2014 to retrace the wartime steps of Hana, her grandmother, and moved from Boston to Europe with only a backpack of belongings and a suitcase of camera gear. As she traveled from Hana’s hometown of Prague to Denmark—where Hana’s parents sent her with other youth as Nazi influence grew—Cerrotti forged deep relationships with people from her grandmother’s past, visited the death camp where her maternal great-grandparents were murdered, married her soul mate, and grieved a tragic loss when he died from an undiagnosed heart disease a year later. Shot through Cerrotti’s lush prose and storytelling are chilling parallels between the rise of authoritarianism leading up to WWII and the present political climate: “Current events felt strange and cyclical,” she observes, “as though a new thread were being spun into the web of family stories I was retelling.” Capping her story is a heartfelt letter written to Hana in which she muses “we both knew that the passing time before your time passed was something to be acknowledged.” The result is an incredible story that’s hard to forget. (Aug.)