What Language Do I Dream In? by Elena Lappin by Elena Lappin
(2016-06-07)

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Family love, linguistics and Jewishness triumph over the oppression of dictatorship. It’s an uplifting story, if not the whole one.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A multiple émigré, Elena Lappin could describe her life as “five languages in search of an author.” She was born into Russian; transposed into Czech, then German; introduced to Hebrew; and, finally, adopted by English.

Taking its title from a question once asked of her, What Language Do You Dream In? is Lappin’s memoir about language and memory. It examines her life through the prism of the languages through which she has experienced it. Each language marks and defines a distinct period of her life, and each gets close attention on its own terms. Lappin’s life is also a story of the way the languages—Russian, Czech, German, Hebrew, and English—and the periods of her life define, intersect, and anticipate one another. What Language Do You Dream In? demonstrates how the languages she speaks define parts of her identity, and how they connect to create the individual she is today.

What Language Do You Dream In? is a moving and erudite memoir on the importance of language to who we are and an ode to the language that has given the author a home in exile.

 

About Elena Lappin

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Elena Lappin is a writer and editor. Born in Moscow, she grew up in Prague and Hamburg, and has lived in Israel, Canada, the United States and—longer than anywhere else—London. She is the author of Foreign Brides and The Nose, and has contributed to numerous publications, including Granta, Prospect, The Guardian and The New York Times Book Review. She is the editor of ONE, an imprint of Pushkin Press.
 
Published January 1, 2012 by Virago Press (UK). 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference.
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Reviewed by Amanda Craig on Jun 19 2016

Family love, linguistics and Jewishness triumph over the oppression of dictatorship. It’s an uplifting story, if not the whole one.

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