TALES OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE: An Exploration of Childhood

Eva Figes, Author . Bloomsbury $23.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-58234-259-7

In this dark and light book, Figes (Patriarchal Attitudes; Waking; etc.) juxtaposes the misery of escaping Nazi Germany as a child and leaving her grandparents behind with the simple goodness of her relationship with her inquisitive granddaughter. "This is a story of childhood, of innocence and its fragility. Of the particular bond between the very old and the very young, living on the edge, sharing the moment. It is a special kind of love story," she writes. Figes is undoubtedly at her best writing about the unique humility and tremendous joy of becoming a grandparent. Her perspective on the cycle of life is poetic and wise without being preachy: "The earth on which we move is circular, the horizon bends. Time, like memory, is a mystery, and in our beginning is our end. Holding my hand in hers, my child's child completes the cycle, leads me homeward." Her message becomes murky, however, when she recounts the unimaginable torment of a childhood bisected by war. Her handling of that subject is so elliptical it's difficult to understand the events she's describing, beyond understanding that they have been the source of tremendous heartbreak. (Apr. 2)

Reviewed on: 02/10/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-0-7475-6024-1
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