A Cross and a Star: Memoirs of a Jewish Girl in Chile by Marjorie Agos­in

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By Marjorie Agos­in

"I desire to discuss my existence in an unseemly and noisy condo in southern Chile and a few city with fifty Nazis and 3 Jewish families..."

In this detailed memoir, Marjorie Agosín writes within the voice of her mom, Frida, who grew up because the daughter of ecu Jewish immigrants in Chile on this planet conflict II period. Woven into the narrative are the tales of Frida's father, who needed to go away Vienna in 1920 simply because he fell in love with a Christian cabaret dancer; of her paternal grandmother, who arrived in Chile later with a host tattoed on her arm; and of her nice grandmother from Odessa, who enjoyed the Spanish language quite a bit that she repeated its harmonious sounds even in her sleep. Agosín's memoir is a relocating testomony to patience and to the facility of reminiscence and of words.

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Like an autobiographer she, the mother/ daughter narrator, has to rely on memory as her central informing medium. " As Smith reveals, "The autobiographe constantly tells 'a' story rather than 'the' story, and tells it 'this' way rather than 'that' way. The reader allows the autobiographer to create her fiction, knowing that it is, . . 3 As a personal record that is based upon her mother's recollections of the past, it seems most appropriate to compare this narrative to a memoir, a very private and unique form of writing that is capable, in varying degrees, of capturing the essence and spirit of the times about which it is written.

Her body was orphaned so many times, cut and opened so many times. On the days of agitated blood, the sorrow was like a deep lock that lay buried inside her body overflowing with life. Her fifth small and immense miscarriage occurred in 1949, the first time that snow had caressed the rooftops and streets of Osorno. The children, lovers of the transparency of that which dazzles, went outdoors to Page 35 conquer the privileged space of whiteness. All this happened at dawn when she bled copiously like a young maiden in a tale about wicked witches and stepmothers.

But as I grew familiar with the landscape and the private lives of the people who lived there, it became a vibrant, living community of people who had both a rich and haunting past and a future filled with hope and new beginnings. It is not possible to experience Osorno and not be touched by the memories of World War II and the atrocities of the Nazi Holocaust. Although the war does not occupy a central position in the narrative, it is always there, living in the mind of the poet-narrator who, Page xx because of her Jewishness, is directly affected by the horrors of the war as well as her own sense of alienation within her native yet foreign land, a land starkly different from the European continent of her ancestors.

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