A small but mighty elegant chapbook of essays, BEYOND THE BAOBAB offers seemingly disconnected yet deeply related and portrayed observations by author Judith Krummeck, a newly minted American citizen. It is refreshing and yes, encouraging, to read work by someone who is actually proud of the United States, rather than the constant (sometimes justified) self-critical barrage that Americans tend to heap upon themselves. Yet her observations are pithy and well-balanced. For instance, in “That July Day” she describes her inaugural foray into the streets of Alexandria, Virginia as “Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa in reverse.” Because of her unerring eye for detail for both of her home and adopted countries (Nambia, where she spent part of her growing-up years, is described as “exquisitely desolate”) she transports the reader into both worlds, providing a telling, intimate view of her life and its various contrasts. Each essay builds upon itself until the next to the last one, “Getting the News” in which she describes the many losses of family and friends that seemed to come all at once. Because readers have come to know these people, this provides a powerful emotional punch. This is an excellent read.
– Writer’s Digest –
The immigrant experience is one that has preoccupied the psyche of America from the settlements of early colonies in the 17th century to the debates about the Dream Act in our own century. Over time, the marvelous conglomeration of British, European, Asian, African, and Hispanic cultures have woven together to create the diverse patterns that make up this beguiling country.
In her collection of essays, broadcaster, writer, and immigrant Judith Krummeck explores the emotional complexities of becoming an American citizen – from learning which way to turn the light switch on to the ephemeral sense of belonging.
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