A Cross and a Star by Marjorie Agosin
Title: A Cross and a Star
Author: Marjorie Agosin
Condition: Used - Good
"In Osorno, Chile, the Nazis were the great feudal lords of the south and being Jewish was like possessing a savage and dangerous scar." The author thus describes the backdrop for this memoir of growing up as the daughter of European Jewish immigrants to Chile in the years before and after World War II. Speaking through the voice of her mother, she says, "I write these sometimes intermittent and true memories with the voice of an adolescent and then of a woman. . . . I wish to talk about my life in an unseemly and noisy house in southern Chile and about a town with fifty Nazis and three Jewish families. Everything I tell you is true and this is why I write so that it will be even more certain."
This beautifully written story offers glimpses of cultures and landscapes little known outside of Chile. The narrative weaves back and forth through time offering the stories of the narrator's family: her father who had to leave Vienna around 1920 because he fell in love with a Christian cabaret dancer, her paternal grandmother who came to Chile in 1939 with a number tattooed on her arm, her mother's family from Odessa, and numerous aunts and uncles. The narrator returns to Osorno in 1993 and notes how little has changed. The Germans still display portraits of Hitler in their homes and sell Hitler memorabilia.