Out of Silence: Repair Across Generations exposes two closely-held family secrets to the public eye: secrets that affected the author's identity and perception of himself and which ultimately led to revelations that would re-unite pathways destroyed by regimes and decisions.
It took a shoebox full of diaries and writings to bring this truth to light. This discovery shook the author's long-held beliefs about who he was, his family's past, and its place in the present. And his decision to write Out of Silence serves as testimony not just to his family's struggles and survival mechanisms, but to the process by which secrets revealed come to repair long-broken lives.
The course of charting this process could have been so much different, under a different pen. Here it assumes an immediacy that is rare even in a memoir, with Matuštík focused on capturing the sights, smells, ethical questions, and complicated facets of Jewish relationships to the world.
In the course of the author's journey, underlying prejudices, perceptions, and broader concerns of the modern world are revealed as Jew and non-Jew alike consider the lasting impact of history's influence.
So many accounts have been written about Holocaust survival that one might wonder at the need for yet another, and at its approach. In truth, Out of Silence explores more than one man's family, one family's secrets, and the journey it provokes. It provides a gripping account of the process of discovery and reconciliation not just between generations, but between peoples; and it succeeds in documenting the lasting effects of decisions, choices, and survival mechanisms from past to present worlds.
It's a journey that embraces three generations, five continents, and a cast of supporting characters over the decades. The time span is winding and embraces the period from before the Holocaust to WW 2, the author's birth in the Communist era, and his journey from Czechoslovakia to the US and back, after the fall of the Iron Curtain; and it even includes the author's discovery of lost family connections in Australia.
His is a narrative that brings the personal and the political in line with history and experience, and it's an approach that holds vivid immediacy and meaning for any student of the Holocaust and its presence in today's world. To aid in this study, it should be noted that photography and online resources for teaching are offered at www.newcriticaltheory.com. The book is well illustrated and at 348 pages, it's a solid read.
It stands at the crossroads of theology, social and political analysis, and literature, and handily complements existing works, adding more research than most to elevate it well beyond the 'simple memoir' genre; making it a top pick for any collection strong in history and the psychology of family relationships as a whole....Continua