Stella’s Carpet –
A Holocaust survivor and a woman briefly imprisoned during the Iranian Revolution are among the characters in this story. Experiences overlap, as individuals step outside the shadow of their own histories and make conscious decisions about how they choose to live while forging new understandings of family, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Stella’s Carpet struggles to document a lived experience within the context of broader questions such as: how do we survive the unimaginable? How do we live with the secrets of our past? And, at what price, love? This book will appeal to readers of fiction who, like all of us in contemporary society, are being forced to find non-traditional ways to create community and to examine the threads that draw us together.
Story behind the book:
Both of my parents survived the devastation that took place in Poland and the Netherlands during WWII. Much of my understanding of the history of the period, and the horrors that destroyed human lives, was initially learned from them. The concept of intergenerational trauma is something that I have found deeply interesting and helpful as I have endeavored to understand the consequences, to them and to others, that are the direct result of such life-damaging experiences. We live in a country that, with the exception of indigenous-settler relations, is shielded from such atrocities. As newcomers join our ranks from war-torn homes and places of persecution, we need to understand that they carry with them a deep and lingering pain that may well be carried on into the lives of their children as they grow up under the shadow of such fear and hurt. Openly embracing these newcomers and welcoming them into our lives and families has become a vital expression of our own humanity. Stella’s Carpet ambitiously attempts to portray some of these things, with the carpets themselves standing in as a beautiful way to broach some of the issues.
– Tenderly explores the quirkiness of a loving blended family dynamic with all of its inherent messes and drama. An ex-son-in-law continues to share a close intimate bond with his former in-laws while his ex-wife reunites with a childhood love and transforms from a bitter hypochondriac to someone who can re-engage with life. Their daughter navigates between her parents while trying to establish her own life trajectory.
– Persian carpets are beautifully detailed and serve as significant markers in the characters’ lives. One of the main characters collects Persian carpets and his growing collection is described in detail. A great deal of information is introduced about the splendour, provenance, symbolism and history of carpets.
– The intergenerational consequences of trauma is explored through several narratives: two Holocaust survivors share pieces of their history, while the experiences of those who survived regime change during the fall of the Shah in Iran are touched upon. An unhappy woman reveals the effects of second-generation trauma on her own life.
– This is a story of newcomers to Canada and the choices made in order to flee from difficult circumstances before transitioning to new lives in Canada. Their resiliency and bravery is highlighted, even as we are exposed to some first-hand accounts of their horrifying ordeals.
– Many historical events in WII are detailed from the perspective of a young man taken prisoner at the outset of military incursions, and a young woman trying to evade capture by invading forces. Their poignant stories are carefully drawn to highlight the life-long effects of such terror.