Archives de catégorie : Memoir

LAST TO EAT, LAST TO LEARN de Pashtana Durrani

The remarkable memoir of Pashtana Durrani, a 23-year-old Afghan woman, who has pursued her passion for educating the “disappearing girls” of the remote, contested rural tribal regions amidst all the turmoil, violence and oppression that has enveloped her country – and her family – over a generation

LAST TO EAT, LAST TO LEARN
by Pashtana Durrani
with Tamara Bralo
‎ Kensington, TBD 2023
(via The Martell agency)

Pashtana Durrani was the first recipient of a grant from Malala’s Fund, and the founder of Learn NGO, an organization that was ruthlessly targeted by the Taliban. She conceived and developed a brilliant program for getting educational materials directly into the hands of girls and young women in the form of solar-powered tablets preloaded with lessons for grades K-12.
Pashtana escaped from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover and will soon be in the U.S., with a two-year residency at Smith College to continue her critical work for girls’ education. Malala wrote one of two letters to the U.S. government to petition for Pashatana’s safe evacuation to the U.S. Pashtana is a highly sought-after expert in the on-going international advocacy struggles, a figure of hope and promise for all those determined not to cede ground in the battle for women’s education and autonomy in Afghanistan and beyond. To get an idea of her passionate engagement and resilience in the face of despair, please watch this clip of an interview the weekend after the fall of Kandahar, which was her base, on UK’s Channel 4 (the same day she was also interviewed by CNN, BBC, NBC, ABC, the
LA Times and Washington Post):

The New York Times has reached out to her twice to write an op-ed, which she will be doing shortly. For quite some time Pashtana has been a go-to person for almost every major media outlet. Her work has been recognized by Amnesty International and the UN.
Just as Malala proved, the young women of Afghanistan – and the world – will be the fiercest, most effective fighters in this just cause and Pashtana is one of their most determined and articulate voices. She has been working on educating young women since she was 7 years old (turning down a full scholarship to Cambridge, so she could so she wouldn’t be cut off from her girls for several years was an inspired, albeit shocking, decision). Her story and her students’ stories are heartbreaking and inspirational and offer essential lessons about the realities of the world beyond our borders and how meaningful lives can be led amidst stunning adversity. And the critical issues regarding the (non)education of women in Afghanistan and across the globe are not going away soon. We will never be able to shed too much light on this brutal situation.

The co-writer on the project, Tamara Bralo, is an award-winning journalist who worked for BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera English, and spent years covering war zones around the world, including Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

GOOD FOR A GIRL de Lauren Fleshman

A memoir and manifesto about women and sports, told through the experiences of a highly decorated runner. From the time Lauren first laced up her sneakers to out-sprint the boys in her neighborhood, though puberty when half of all girls abandon sports for good, and into elite running where she had to be “fast and fuckable” to fit into the Nike machine, Lauren felt she was bumping into a system that was not made for her.

GOOD FOR A GIRL:
A Life Running In A Man’s World
by Lauren Fleshman
‎ Penguin Press, TBD 2022
(via Levine, Greenberg, Rostan)

Lauren Fleshman is very, very good at running. She was a two-time USA Champion, finished 7th in the world, and is widely known for having a devastating (but entertaining to watch) finishing kick. For the past 25 years, she can now clearly see that at every step of the way she was bumping up against a system that was never made for her. This is a #metoo story that follows Lauren while she racked up the miles:

From puberty, where sports diverge by gender, where boys develop the types of bodies sports were designed around, and 50% of girls quit.
To college, where she entered a system built by and for men, one full of cracks to fall through and landmines to step on, that refused to acknowledge and account for the different physiology of women who were consistently hurting themselves to fit in.
To being a professional runner for Nike where she learned that she needed to be Fast and Fuckable to succeed in their marketing machinery.

Running is the highest participatory sport in the world, and women are taking it over. In one generation we’ve gone from being pulled off the Boston marathon course for the crime of running while female to making up 60% of the 59 million Americans who run and the 18 million who race. It’s a women’s sport now, and we are only just beginning to realize it.

Lauren Fleshman is considered one of the greatest distance runners in USA history. Her professional racing career saw two USA Championship Titles and five World Championship berths for Team USA. She is endeared as much for her failures as her accomplishments, because of her unique approach to sport and legacy in the running community. Her influence has remained strong since retiring from elite racing in 2016, when she transitioned to Head Coach of Little Wing Athletics, the only woman led, woman run, woman sponsored professional running team in the world. Lauren currently serves on the Board of Directors for USATF, advocating for better governance, safe sport, and the protection of athlete’s rights.

GETTING OUT OF SAIGON de Ralph White

The gripping and remarkable true story of author Ralph White’s desperate effort to save the entire staff of the Saigon branch of Chase Manhattan bank and their families before the city fell to the North Vietnamese Army.

GETTING OUT OF SAIGON:
How a 27-Year-Old Banker Saved 113 Vietnamese Civilians
by Ralph White
‎ Simon & Schuster, June 2022
(via Defiore & Company)

In April 1975, Ralph White was asked by his boss to transfer from the Bangkok branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank to the Saigon Branch. He was tasked with closing the branch if and when it appeared that Saigon would fall to the North Vietnamese army and ensure the safety of the senior Vietnamese employees.
But when he arrived, he realized the situation in Saigon was far more perilous than he had imagined. The senior staff members there urged him to evacuate the entire staff of the branch and their families, which was far more than he was authorized to do. Quickly he realized that no one would be safe when the city fell, and it was no longer a question of whether to evacuate but how.
GETTING OUT OF SAIGON is the remarkable story of a city on the eve of destruction and the colorful characters who respond differently to impending doom. It’s about one man’s quest to save innocent lives not because it was ordered but because it was the right thing to do.

In 1973, Ralph White joined the Chase Manhattan Bank and worked as a business development officer in Thailand and Hong Kong; during his tenure in Thailand, he was temporarily assigned to Vietnam to close the bank’s Saigon branch as the city fell. Upon return to Chase’s New York headquarters in 1981, he worked in the International Strategic Planning Division and was a Vice President when he left. Over the next twenty years, White worked as a business development officer with three foreign banks and earned an MBA at Columbia University. In 2009, he founded the Columbia Fiction Foundry, a writing workshop for alumni of Columbia University, as a shared interest group under the Office of Alumni and Development. Having served as the organization’s president for its first decade, White now serves as its Chairman. He lives in New York City and Litchfield, Connecticut.

ASYLUM de Judy Bolton-Fasman

How much do we really know about the lives of our parents and the secrets lodged in their past? Judy Bolton-Fasman’s fascinating saga recounts the search for answers to the mysteries embedded in the lives of her Cuban-born mother and her elusive, Yale-educated father.

ASYLUM
by Judy Bolton-Fasman
Mandel Vilar Press, August 2021
(via Kaplan/Defiore Rights)

In the prefatory chapter, “Burn This,” Judy receives a thick letter from her father and conjectures that the contents will reveal the long hidden explanations, confessions, and secrets that will unlock her father’s cryptic past. Just as she is about to open the portal to her father’s “transtiendas,” his dark hidden secrets, Harold Bolton phones Judy and instructs her to burn the still unopened letter. With the flick of a match, Judy ignites her father’s unread documents, effectively destroying the answers to long held questions that surround her parents’ improbable marriage and their even more secretive lives.
Judy Bolton, girl detective, embarks on the life-long exploration of her bifurcated ancestry; Judy inherits a Sephardic, Spanish/Ladino-speaking culture from her mother and an Ashkenazi, English-only, old-fashioned American patriotism from her father. Amid the Bolton household’s cultural, political, and psychological confusion, Judy is mystified by her father’s impenetrable silence; and, similarly confounded by her mother’s fabrications, not the least of which involve rumors of a dowry pay-off and multiple wedding ceremonies for the oddly mismatched 40-year-old groom and the 24-year-old bride. Contacting former associates, relatives, and friends; accessing records through the Freedom of Information Act; traveling to Cuba to search for clues, and even reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish for a year to gain spiritual insight into her father; these decades-long endeavors do not always yield the answers Judy wanted and sometimes the answers themselves lead her to ask new questions.
Among Asylum’s most astonishing, unsolved mysteries is Ana Hernandez’s appearance at the family home on Asylum Avenue in West Hartford, Connecticut. Ana is an exchange student from Guatemala whom Judy comes to presume to be her paternal half-sister. In seeking information about Ana, Judy’s investigations prove to be much like her entire enterprise–both enticing and frustrating. Was Ana just a misconstrued memory, or is she a still living piece of the puzzle that Judy has spent her adult life trying to solve?
Readers will relish every step and stage of Judy’s investigations and will begin to share in her obsession to obtain answers to the mysteries that have haunted her life. The suspense, the clairvoyant prophecies, the discoveries, the new leads, the dead-ends, the paths not taken—all capture our attention in this absorbing and fascinating memoir.

Judy Bolton-Fasman is an award-winning writer on culture―literary, visual and film―for JewishBoston.com and whose column on parenting and family life appears regularly in the Jewish Advocate. She frequently contributes to The New York Times “Motherlode blog” and the Boston Globe. Her work has also appeared in Lilith Magazine, O Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Cognoscenti, Brevity and Catapult. She is a four-time recipient of the Simon Rockower Award for Essay from the American Jewish Press Association. Judy grew up on Asylum Avenue near Hartford, CT and now lives with her husband, daughter and son just outside of Boston.

ORT OHNE WIEDERKEHR de Mihrigul Tursun & Andrea Claudia Hoffmann

The first book worldwide by a survivor of the Chinese concentration camps.

ORT OHNE WIEDERKEHR
(A Place of No Return)
by Mihrigul Tursun & Andrea Claudia Hoffmann
Heyne/ Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe, February 2022

Human rights organisations and governments speak of a crime against humanity, a « cultural genocide ». Mihrigul Tursun has repeatedly been a victim of Chinese efforts to totally assimilate the Uyghur minority. She experienced the so-called « re-education camps » in their indescribable cruelty, the physical and psychological violence, first hand. In a way that remains unexplained to this day, her young son died while she was imprisoned. Today, despite the threat that has not disappeared even in exile, she has the courage to speak openly about what she experienced and to describe from her own experience what the Uyghur minority in China has to endure. A significant eyewitness account that brings the reader closer to the people behind the news from China.

Uyghur Mihrigul Tursun, born in 1989, was imprisoned several times in the Chinese « re-education camps » of Xinjiang. During her detention, one of her sons died in Chinese custody under unexplained circumstances. On 28 November 2018, Mihrigul Tursun gave her harrowing testimony before the US Congress (Congressional-Executive Commission on China). She described the inhumane conditions and torture methods in the camps. In December 2018, Tursun was awarded the Citizen Power Award.
Andrea C. Hoffmann works in the political editorial department of the news magazine Focus and teaches at various German universities. Her books have been translated into 17 languages worldwide.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Mihrigul_Tursun.jpg