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Lecture / Discussion  |  The Odyssey and Dr. Novak

A Memior Ann C. Colley

Thursday, December 13, 2018, 6:30 pm

Free and open to the public 


“What are you looking for when you can’t stop looking at a photo from your childhood? In Ann C. Colley’s case, the picture was of herself, aged nine, standing alongside a Czech doctor who was visiting her family home, a Unitarian parsonage in a bomb-damaged town near Manchester, just after the Second World War. All she knows is that he was called Dr. Novak and that he ran the Unitarian movement in Czechoslovakia. The warmth of that 1946 encounter was never to leave Colley, but “I never saw or heard of him again. I do not even recall his first name.”

This is a nuanced, subtle and luminous reading of a region whose past is full of suffering… Colley only wrote her book after the times veered back towards despair, notably in Ukraine, where the conflict with Russia of the past four years has lost the country not only Crimea and the industrial east but also many citizens’ lives. Colley writes with elegance. She has an impressionistic, magpie way of building up her story – a joke here, a street encounter there... [The memoir] is never far away from a considered reflection on where politics is going. (Times Literary Supplement, excerpt)