The author's challenging job, in a large defense plant producing
vital war materiel, broke new ground. In planning this book, Percival
turned to her daily reports, still in her files. "Rereading them after
more than 65 years," the narrator writes, "those hectic, pressured days
that demanded all my stamina, ingenuity, empathy and endurance rose up
in my memory."
Woven into her chapters, these reports provide a vivid portrait of
the trials and triumphs of women's private battles. It was her concern
for the unhappily divided state of our present world that impelled
Percival to write of a time when Americans were united, all working
together to save our country from Hitler's despotic assault.
Nora Lourie Percival was born just after World War I in Samara on the Volga River in Russia. The revolution drove her father out of the country to safety, and her family lived through a civil war and a famine. These tribulations were recorded in Weather of the Heart, her first memoir. In 1922, the family was reunited in New York, where Nora grew up. The author’s career has been largely in the editorial field. She has worked for Random House, the American Management Association, and Barnard College. Now long retired, she is still writing and working as a freelance editor. An only child, she has raised five children and now has eleven grandchildren. She lives in the mountains of North Carolina, where she enjoys the natural beauty and is inspired by the literary renaissance in the South.
In “Proust at Rush Hour,” when her lungs begin to collapse and fail, forcing her to give up an exciting and precarious existence as a globetrotting simultaneous interpreter, she seeks consolation by reading Proust in the original while commuting by subway to a desk job that requires no more than a minimal knowledge of French. In “For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors” she gives away her diaphragm and tubes of spermicidal jelly to a woman in the Soviet Union who, with two unwanted pregnancies behind her, needs them more than she does. “The Husband Method” has her translating a book on Russian obscenities and gulag slang during the dissolution of her marriage to the Russian-speaker who taught her much of what she knows about that language.
In prose spangled with pathos and dusted with humor, Wolfson transports us to Paris, the Republic of Georgia, upstate New York, the Upper West Side, and the corridors of the United Nations, telling stories that skewer, transform, and inspire.
The beautiful, safe, joyful places in young Tilli's imagination were her only refuge from the bombing that tore through the sky above her during World War II. Her thoughts were her only freedom from Hitler's Nazi tyranny, and they were her strength to survive after the war ended, when Russians invaded her tiny farming village in eastern Germany; forced her into months of hiding in a dark attic crawlspace; and took her innocence, her childhood, and nearly her life.
Tilli's dreams-of a time when she could think and act freely, and travel, work, write, worship, and live however she wished-were what fueled the sixteen-year-old to courageously and single-handedly escape the terror of Stalin's harsh Communist rule and create her own happy ending in a free America.
This true tale of sorrow and terror, hope and triumph, is Tilli's story-but it's also the story of the unthinkable suffering and untold bravery of countless innocent children who have lived through a war and its aftermath.
A great piece of individual history from a woman who had some remarkable experiences.... Through this story, readers will come to appreciate more deeply ordinary citizens' experience of wartime and political upheaval, as well as the enormity of the decision to leave one's country and start a new life thousands of miles away. -Lisa Seidlitz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of German at Augustana College
Her search resurrected childhood memories of revolution, civil war,
famine and exile, which she felt impelled to share, “to speak for so
many others who have silently endured the loss of all they valued.”
In her book the reader will meet the extended family who faced many
trials in those chaotic years, and will be moved by their steadfast
togetherness through want and woe. The reader will share the love and
courage that sustained them and helped them survive hunger and despair,
the humor that cheered dreary days and the strength that carried them
through affliction and calamity. Readers will cry over their sorrows and
enjoy their small triumphs, and they will live again in memory.
Silver Pages on the Lawn is the true story of student lovers
and their star-crossed romance that endures parental disapproval as
well as the want of time, money, and privacy. To bridge long
separations, they make love by words alone. Their passionate, eloquent
letters, poignant and poetic, are the heart of this memoir and bring to
life the troubled era in which their story takes place—the lean days of
the Great Depression, war clouds over Europe, and the literary
renaissance of which these aspiring writers were part, form the heart of
Silver Pages on the Lawn paints a dramatic picture of the
difficult years they lived through and of the steadfast love that
survived it all and carried them through to the life they dreamed of.