cover image Always from Somewhere Else: A Memoir of My Chilean Jewish Father

Always from Somewhere Else: A Memoir of My Chilean Jewish Father

Marjorie Agosn, Marjorie Agosin, Marjorie Agosc-N. Feminist Press, $18.95 (264pp) ISBN 978-1-55861-195-5

""Journeys for Jews are like textures of memories,"" writes Chilean poet Agosin (A Cross and a Star: Memoirs of a Jewish Girl in Chile) in this beautifully composed tribute to the life of her father, Moises Agosin (b. 1922), a volume in the Helen Rose Scheuer Jewish Women's Series. In tracing the story of Moises, who is an internationally known research scientist specializing in parasitology, the author first describes the flight of her grandparents, Abraham and Raquel, from the war-ravaged, increasingly anti-Semitic Russia of 1917. They lived as refugees in Istanbul and Marseilles, where Moises was born, before settling with their three sons in Quillota, Chile. In vivid detail, Agosin contrasts the beauty of the Chilean countryside with the ugliness of the entrenched anti-Semitism that made her father a permanent outsider. Stigmatized as the sole Jewish child in his public school, he moved to Santiago for his medical training in the 1940s, only to discover that many of his professors and students were pro-Nazi. Despite his distinguished career, he was barred from influential university positions. In 1968, the Agosin family moved to the U.S., where Moises was treated professionally as a Latino interloper. Agosin paints a moving portrait of a man who, despite his love for his family, his work and classical music, was, like herself, marked at the core of his identity as a wandering exile, always spiritually and historically from somewhere else. B&w photos. (Dec.)