MTPR

'The Memory House' With Raki Kopernik

Nov 7, 2019

Through her gorgeous work of lyric autobiography, Raki Kopernik invites us into the lives of her Israeli parents and grandparents. She also weaves her own memories into the unfolding story of family and home, offering a critical perspective on history and ancestral trauma. This is a conversation about borders, scarcity, abundance, queer and immigrant identities, hunger, and falafel. 

The Memory House by Raki Kopernik

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About the Book:

Raki Kopernik offers a work of autobiography that transcends the self and honors the cultural webs her family wove long before her, their struggles to make a good life, suffering displacement and adapting to create a home. This work is spare and lyrical, minutely observed and emotionally resonant. The Memory House addresses themes of time, place, family, and memory to explore issues of dislocation and concepts of home. The result is a book full of power, subtlety, and beauty. -- Ryan Berg, author of "No House to Call My Home: Love, Family, and Other Transgressions."

Nothing wasted, no extra - this is how Raki Kopernik constructs The Memory House. Every sentence a small satisfaction to read; some lines punch and others pull readers into the dust and sweetness of what is remembered/misremembered/passed down. Part document, part multi-generational memoir, and one hundred and fifty percent relevant, The Memory House shows us family, war, borders, home, persecution, necessity, longing, belonging, and migration as infinite loops. From the Middle East to the Midwest, from the early 1900’s to now, Raki gives us entry into the stories she carries in her marrow - an heirloom she offers up in words to us."  -- Franciszka Voeltz, author of "All this Blue, All this Broken"

In this slight memoir, trauma and struggle—war, immigration, refugee crises, imprisonment, hunger—claw their way from past decades into today’s tragedies. But housed within that harsh narrative, the tenderness of day-to-day life delicately webs between generations, passed from saba and safta to mother to child. This is the history woven within Jewish families, and looped between endlessly, in a square of chocolate, in tomato and cucumber salad, in fields of sunflowers and orchards full of oranges, in one-room buildings full of beds and uncertain ships crossing the sea. The organic, elusive structure of The Memory House hints at how our family’s stories, both shared and withheld, nurture unnamed hungers and connections within us all. -- Miriam McNamara, author of "The Unbinding of Mary Reade."

About the Author:

Raki Kopernik
Credit Raki Kopernik

Raki is a queer, Jewish fiction and poetry writer. She is the author of The Things You Left (Unsolicited Press 2020), The Memory House (The Muriel Press 2019) which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Award, and The Other Body (Dancing Girl Press 2017). Her work has appeared in numerous publications and has been shortlisted and nominated for several awards, including the Pushcart Prize for fiction. She lives in Minneapolis. You can find her here: https://rakikopernik.wixsite.com/mysite