Sunday, January 9, 2011

Molnar, Haya Leah Under A Red Sky

Molnar, Haya Leah Under A Red Sky
Farrar Strauss 2010 302p 17.99
978-0-374-31840-6 ms/hs VG
Haya Leah Molnar began life as Eva Zimmerman, and knew nothing of her Jewish heritage until her family petitioned to relocate to Israel. A engaging and moving memoir of a childhood in Communist Romania. A moving and engaging memoir, told in the first person, from a child’s point of view. Haya Leah Molnar grew up as Eva Zimmerman, the child of a famous dancer and a filmmaker. While her extended family endured hardships under the Communist regime in Romania, the stories of her eccentric relatives and family friends paint a loving and fascinating picture of life behind the Iron Curtain, in 1950’s Romania. While her father believed in science as the one truth, and the family rarely observed any religious traditions, Eva was shocked to find out that they were Jewish, when her father applied to emigrate to Israel. After that application, her family was forced into more hardships when it was known that they were indeed Jewish.

The ending seemed far too abrupt, including pictures of Molnar’s life in Israel, and eventual emigration to the US, but no narrative past the boat entering the Tel Aviv harbor. In that respect the memoir seems incomplete and will leave readers wondering of her life in Israel and the family’s decision to come to the US. Perhaps there will be a sequel. Recommmended for memoir and historical collections. This cultural memoir gives insight into a child’s life behind the Iron Curtain in a pivotal time in world history. Easily readable by middle school and still relevant for high school collections. Naismith, Pat

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