Jewish Studies •  Latin America •  Literature and Women

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The Book of Memories

Ana Shua
Translated by Dick Gerdes

Born in Buenos Aires in 1951, Ana Maria Shua is one of the most exciting and prolific young Latin American Jewish writers. She published her first book at the age of sixteen; since then she has published thirteen books, including nonfiction, novels, short stories, and children's books.

The Book of Memories, originally published in Spanish in 1994, is a humorous yet moving exploration of a Jewish family's history, as seen through the eyes of three generations of women. The story begins with Grandfather Gedalia leaving Poland with forged papers to escape the army and sailing to Argentina, the "other America." Sometimes charming, sometimes stingy, this patriarchal figure, a peddler and sometime moneylender, heads a clan that includes, among others, the feisty and foul-mouthed Aunt Judith and Uncle Silvester, a seducer of young girls who has such high principles that he turns himself in after missing the Argentine police raid on his socialist printing press.

From the assorted perspectives of these and other characters, this tale of Jewish immigrants explores life in Argentina, the role of women, and the power and the limits of machismo and nationalism.


Ana Maria Shua lives and writes in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She recently received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Professor Dick Gerdes teaches Spanish at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.


"The author's zestful writing style that incorporates a great deal of black humor enhances the bickering sequences of events. Characters are believeable. . . A good read requiring a great deal of concentration."


"Ana Maria Shua's epic work centres round three generations of the Rimetka family, Eastern European immigrants who settled in Buenos Aires, but is equally about the racially and religiously diverse nation that is Argentina. . . . A rich story, individual yet universal, imaginatively told, that draws the reader into The Book of Memories."


British Bulletin of Publications

5.5 x 8.25 in. 198 pages