Your Eyes Will Be My Window


Title Details

Pages: 240

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6466-7

List Price: $22.95

Your Eyes Will Be My Window


A poignant record of unfiltered emotions among Kindertransport survivors in Europe that honors the lost

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Your Eyes Will Be My Window reclaims the two erasures of Esta Plat. Murdered in Ukraine by Nazi troops in 1942, evidence of the life of Esta Plat was preserved in a bundle of her letters until the letters were tossed into a dumpster and destroyed. Haunted by the inheritance of survivor's guilt and shame in a family that kept no Old World keepsakes except her grandmother's one-sentence memory of Esta Plat, Jodi Varonis compelled to sift through records of Europe's genocidal past.

Pitting grandiose Holocaust memorials against the act of bearing witness, Varon confronts the limitations of history, folklore, archival data, and survivor testimonies. Seeking solace in ritual, she challenges her upbringing as an outlier Jew in the Rocky Mountain West to provide a window to the meaning of cultural displacement in immigrant communities. When an ethnic German woman's corpse was discarded across from Varon's rented flat in Baden-Württemberg, the homemade memorial for Nadine E. prompts a meditation on violence against women and girls as a weapon of suppression and war. The record of unfiltered emotions among Kindertransport survivors in Europe, journalists in Ludwigsburg, and archivists and guides in Jerusalem, Your Eyes Will Be My Window is a defiant exercise in honoring the lost.

A profound account of the author’s visits to Holocaust memorial sites in Eastern Europe and Israel, a fascinating family story of migration and tragedy embedded in the larger history of catastrophic world events, a generous introduction to Jewish practices for the secular reader, Jodi Varon’s series of connected essays, Your Eyes Will Be My Window, is also a daughter and granddaughter’s quest for answers to some of the most crucial questions of our time: How do we remember those who died of violence? How do we overcome the fear of 'fantastical harm' that comes with generational trauma? How do we live with scars both visible and invisible?

—Melissa Kwasny, author of Where Outside the Body Is the Soul Today

As the author reminds us in essay after essay in this stunning collection, the past is often 'masked, throttled, suppressed,' but it never goes away. This is true for Holocaust and domestic violence survivors alike but especially so for their descendants, who, even decades after the events, continue to seek ways to transform generational grief and longing into a way forward.Accompanying Jodi Varon while she strives to uncover her past’s reach and meaning is an unforgettable journey.

—Piotr Florczyk, author of From the Annals of Kraków

Witness, voyeur, and provocateur, Jodi Varon doesn’t shy from the visceral realities of the people she meets on her mythic journey, whether in the present or the distant past. Part heartbreaking history, part plaintive imagining, the essays in this beautifully interwoven collection detail a quest for meaning and identity in the face of violence, dislocation, and profound loss. By turns unabashedly sacred and fearlessly profane, viscerally intimate and informed by the grim determinism of Old-World fairy tales, Varon’s lyrical observations, reflections, and confessions act as a vivisection on the body of memory.

—Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country

About the Author/Editor

JODI VARON is professor emeritus of writing and English at Eastern Oregon University, where she directed the low residency MFA in creative writing and served as editor-in-chief of basalt: a journal of fine and literary arts, EOU’s professional literary magazine. She is the author of Drawing to an Inside Straight: The Legacy of an Absent Father and her work has been published in the Northwest Review, Boulevard, New Letters, and other publications. She lives in Missoula, Montana.