> Skip to content
  • Published: 21 June 2022
  • ISBN: 9781635422207
  • Imprint: Other Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $37.00
Categories:

Our America, Nuestra América, Unsere Amerika

My Family in the Vertigo of Translation



NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

A riveting study of the intersections between Jewish and Latin American culture, this immigrant family memoir recounts history with psychological insight and the immediacy of a thriller.

In Nuestra América, eminent anthropologist and historian Claudio Lomnitz traces his grandparents’ exile from Eastern Europe to South America. At the same time, the book is a pretext to explain and analyze the worldview, culture, and spirit of countries such as Peru, Colombia, and Chile, from the perspective of educated Jewish emigrants imbued with the hope and determination typical of those who escaped Europe in the 1920s.

Lomnitz’s grandparents, who were both trained to defy ghetto life with the pioneering spirit of the early Zionist movement, became intensely involved in the Peruvian leftist intellectual milieu and its practice of connecting Peru’s indigenous past to an emancipatory internationalism that included Jewish culture and thought. After being thrown into prison supposedly for their socialist leanings, Lomnitz’s grandparents were exiled to Colombia, where they were subject to its scandals, its class system, its political life. Through this lens, Lomnitz explores the almost negligible attention and esteem that South America holds in US public opinion. The story then continues to Chile during World War II, Israel in the 1950s, and finally to Claudio’s youth, living with his parents in Berkeley, California, and Mexico City.

  • Published: 21 June 2022
  • ISBN: 9781635422207
  • Imprint: Other Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $37.00
Categories:

Also by Claudio Lomnitz

See all

Praise for Our America, Nuestra América, Unsere Amerika

“Lomnitz’s fluent integration of memoir and reportage—reminiscent of Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost—carries forward this intellectual tradition of emancipatory political vision: In diaspora we come together.” —New York Times Book Review   “Remarkable…a gripping family history…Lomnitz does a masterful job.” —New York Review of Books “In the wake of mass displacement, a family history like this one…is a means of confronting and redefining the concepts of homeland, belonging, and history.” —The New Yorker “[Lomnitz] takes his rich family history and builds a narrative of universal significance…There is no end of intriguing anecdotes in these pages…A masterpiece of historical and personal investigation.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)   “An intelligent book about a family’s struggle to find a home they could call ‘our America.’…a timely reminder of the humanity of immigrants…riveting.” —Foreword Reviews “An autobiography in which we Latin Americans all recognize ourselves.” —Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature “Nuestra América means ‘Our America,’ and that collective pronoun encompasses not just Claudio Lomnitz’s family but multitudes who have wound up on South America’s shores. It is about history, language, ideas and how they shape, in the sweep of time, our eccentric individual lives. We’re all familiar with the memoir that brings a dissolving old family snapshot to life; Lomnitz combines that snapshot with a panoramic picture of Spanish America and Europe from the nineteenth century to present time. Among other things, Nuestra América will give you a distilled portrait of Peru that, for this reader, made that enigmatic country more vivid and comprehensible than ever. The real treat of this extraordinary book is Lomnitz’s acute lucidity and intelligence. Read it—you will be richly rewarded.” —Michael Greenberg, author of Hurry Down Sunshine “Claudio Lomnitz’s riveting family memoir is an account of trauma and displacement, but also one of resilience, passion, and even joy. From Romania to Peru to Colombia to Israel to California to Mexico and beyond, his forebears, vividly portrayed, lived lives of profound political and intellectual engagement and were intimate with important historical actors. Nuestra América joins Philippe Sands’ East West Street and Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes, bringing to light untold narratives of the Jewish diaspora.” —Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl “An extraordinary journey—vital, absorbing, elegiac, and so finely honed.” —Philippe Sands, author of The Ratline and East West Street “This is a brilliant and beautifully written book. Based on personal memories, archival research, and impassioned listening, Lomnitz narrates how his Jewish family coped with violence and dispersion, and reflects on the depths out of which they found strength to begin life anew. The story of his grandfather’s collaboration with Mariátegui in Peru uncovers an inspiring chapter on the creation of intellectual and political communities. Lomnitz brings new meaning to Nuestra América as a necessary place for active new beginnings, which he has inherited.” —Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones, Princeton University, author of La memoria rota “This book is a search for the author’s intellectual and spiritual sources in his family history. It includes the story of his grandfather, and how through

Related titles