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Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Conversations We Never Had by Jeffrey H Konis

About The Conversations We Never Had

This is the dream of a grandson, who had taken his grandmother for granted, to have a second chance, the opportunity to learn about his family from the only person in the world who knew them, who remembered them. My father remembers nothing about his real parents for they were dead by the time he was nine. Olga, his mother’s younger sister, survived the Holocaust, found my father hiding on a farm in Poland and later brought him to America to raise as her own. He never asked her any questions about his parents. Though I later moved in with Olga for a period of time, I repeated history and never asked her the questions my father never asked. Olga has been gone for more than twenty years, along with everything she could have told me, leaving me with a sense of guilt and profound regret. The Conversations We Never Had is a chronicle of my time spent with Grandma “Ola” and tells the stories she might have shared had I asked the questions

My Review of The Conversations We Never Had

How do I start to review such a beautiful book? It is a wonderful read that echoes all of our deepest regrets. While reading, I had the desperate urge to build that time machine and to go back and ask all of those questions that I should have asked my loved ones when they were still alive. What the author has managed to achieve is the wish to do just that, but through fiction.

The Conversations We Never Had centres around Jeffrey, the author, who describes a brief period in his life of when he lived with his Grandma Olga, while studying law. The book beautifully blurs the line between fiction and reality, as the description of his life living with Olga is true. The conversations that he had with her, are pure fiction, and what he wished he had asked at the time. This is the true beauty of this book. We read Jeffrey's memoir that is interspersed with those questions that he should have asked.

I admit that I got a lump in my throat while reading their exchanges. They were beautifully written in a straightforward and no nonsense manner. I actually felt that I got to know Grandma Olga and what her life was like, living trough the Holocaust. Although this is predominantly a work of fiction, based upon fact, you do get a sense of what life must have been like during this difficult time in Poland, and for anyone wanting to learn more about the Holocaust, then this is a gentle way in which to learn about the human cost and suffering that occurred.

Konis writes from the heart. He writes so beautifully about those regrets that we all have. Although the foundations of this boom were built upon his feelings of guilt and not taking the time to ask his grandmother those all important questions, I think that he can now be rest assured that he should no longer feel that guilt. We all now know what a wonderful grandmother she was, and I am sure that she was very proud of her grandson. This is a powerful, emotive and hugely enjoyable read and Grandma Olga will stay with me for a very long time.

With thanks to the author and publisher who provided a paperback copy for review purposes.

Published on  May 3rd 2016 by Outskirts Press. The Conversations We Never Had is available to buy from Amazon here

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