Kricorian, Nancy. Dreams of bread and fire.

Author:Power, Penelope
Position:Book Review
 
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KRICORIAN, Nancy. Dreams of bread and fire. Grove Press. 231p. c2003. 0-8021-4123-4. $13.00. SA

"Ani had harbored the idea that when she left for college she could make herself into a new person." But Ani can't escape her heritage, nor, in the end, does she want to. Raised by her maternal Armenian grandparents and her mother, a widow whose Jewish in-laws refused to acknowledge the marriage or the death of their son, Ani experiences all the rebuffs and anxieties of an outsider. While she notices the grandparents' circle of Armenian expatriates, she is generally oblivious to the great tragedy that brought them across the ocean and that occupies their conversations. Her Jewish heritage is closed to her. The story is told in flashbacks as Ani is going to university in Paris and serving as an au pair to a wealthy American couple to supplement her grant money. The author doesn't give much time to Ani's studies--and we have to assume that she is a good student, or she wouldn't be in Paris in the first place. Her emotional growth is the stuff of this novel. She has left the US enamored of a wealthy New England student who, as the reader well knows, is not worthy of her. She makes interesting connections, but can't stop thinking about the love across the sea. A chance meeting with a childhood friend, an Armenian American, becomes central to her European stay and...

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