Onegin’s Love for Grandma Clara Novel, Carmel Publishing House, 2016.
Two years before his death, Father gave me an old, dusty cardboard box. “They are our love letters, mine and your mother’s,” he said. “Want them? Or should I throw them away?”
Onegin's Love for Grandma Clara is a novel based on my parents’ love story. It took place at the time that Stalin was planning to exile all Soviet Jews to northern Siberia.
It connects there to here and then to now, through the universal desire for freedom along with humankind’s unfortunate inability accept the unknown and make peace with the loss of the familiar.
Onegin's Love for Grandma Clara is also a story of all those who weren’t born here but who make this their home, a story I have long wanted to tell. It is also a story about love – love between a man and woman, the love for the snows and forests of Russia, the longing for Israel, and also the love of a cat named Onegin for Grandmother Clara.
I had no choice but to write this story, my story, the story of my family, and of people like us. But if you read it, it will become your story too. “When a work of literature is good,” said Anna Akhmatova, “people say, ‘She wrote it about me.’” That is what I wish for here.
Mirie Litvak, a writer and translator, is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize. Her previous books are Russians Sleep in the Nude, The Sun at My Back, and Longing for the Dark (Sifriyat Hapoalim—Hakibbutz Hameuhad). She has translated volumes of poetry by Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetayeva, and Alexander Block.