By Marjorie Agosin
In this distinctive memoir, Marjorie Agosín writes within the voice of her mom, Frida, who grew up because the daughter of eu Jewish immigrants in Chile on the earth warfare 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 bunch tattoed on her arm; and of her nice grandmother from Odessa, who enjoyed the Spanish language lots that she repeated its harmonious sounds even in her sleep. Agosín's memoir is a relocating testomony to patience and to the ability of reminiscence and of words.
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Extra resources for A Cross and a Star: Memoirs of a Jewish Girl in Chile
But before, on the first day of November when they say that the dead install themselves on the Earth in order to eat their favorite steaks with french fries, that same day, she would rent a 1940 convertible taxi, which she filled with gladiolus and lilies. In addition forget-me-nots, a few fresh herbs, and little sprigs of mint were her offerings to the dead, and my brother and I would get dizzy with that sweet and perverse smell of flowers. The dizziness that overcame us was so great that we ended up falling asleep without even greeting or saying good-bye to a single dead person.
My mother told us that the letter came from the saltpeter mines in northern Chile and that it was written by an old Viennese suitor who liked to sign as Page 34 Romeo Weiss and who would perfume his letters and kiss them, dying them scarlet. When my mother stopped answering him, Romeo sliced his finger and smeared it with radishes, although the evil-tongued say that he spread it with his mother's accursed eggplants so as to fabricate his blood letter, his legacy of love, soaked in the passion of the flesh and of vegetables.
He liked to give us beautifully bound Bibles, and with those gifts we felt ourselves obliged to prayer and to perpetual obedience. I remember Don Isaac not so much from his prayers as from his fur business and those strange foxes that he sold with the eyes of a decapitated animal. Society ladies would wear them amid the mist and during their late afternoon strolls. Those foxes were part of the dark fear of animals with faces of arrogant ladies that occupied my dreams and vigils. I also remember that on the counter of his store, "La Mansion de l'Hiver," was a solitary and lifeless mannequin leg that appeared in the dark, behind the mirrors.