Our Lady Of Steerage
Product Code: 010
Our Lady Of Steerage
BY: STEVEN MAYOFF
"The present moment is unlike the memory of it. Remembering is not the negative of forgetting. Remembering is a form of forgetting.”
This quote by Milan Kundera sets the tone for the story of 19 year old Mariasse Knyszinski, who, in 1923, has run away from her home in Kraków to be with her cousin, Piotr, in Montreal.
Aboard the S. S. Montmartre she meets a young Jewish couple, Shulim and Betye, who have suffered the loss of their 5 year old son. Betye’s grief is such that she ignores their infant daughter, Dvorah, so Mariasse takes care of her for the duration of the voyage.
The Madonna-like image of Mariasse carrying Dvorah around on the ship inspires the other 3rd class passengers to refer to her as Our Lady of Steerage.
This begins a visceral connection between Mariasse and Dvorah and for the next 40 years they wander in and out of each other’s lives, their relationship weathering both fierce devotion and bitter betrayals.
The non-linear narrative and image-driven prose of Our Lady Of Steerage manifests the novel’s chief themes: the vagaries of memory and the struggle for self-reinvention.
Adult readers who are looking for psychological insight and emotional complexity will be drawn in by Mariasse’s personal journey that takes her from her Catholic upbringing to her eventual conversion to Judaism and ultimate return to Catholicism.
How this full circle mirrors Dvorah’s lifelong struggle with manic-depression illuminates the shadowy divide between the mind and the soul, only to reveal the beating heart that continually brings together and drives apart these two women.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Steven Mayoff was born and raised in Montreal, lived in Toronto for 17 years and has been writing full time in the bucolic splendour of western Prince Edward Island since 2001. His fiction and poetry have appeared in literary journals across Canada and the U.S., as well as in Ireland, France and Algeria.
His story collection, Fatted Calf Blues, won a 2010 PEI Book Award, was short-listed for a 2010 Re-Lit Award and was a Top 5 Finalist for the 2011 CBC Cross-Country Bookshelf (Maritime division). It was praised in the Globe & Mail as showing "a strong imagination at work.”
He has collaborated on short radio plays for CBC and on a stage play, Bully, which was produced at the Theatre Centre in Toronto in 2001. He received a nomination for a Dora Mavor Moore Award as lyricist for the musical, SwingStep, which was staged at the Ford Centre in North York in 1999.
As a librettist he has written a rock musical, Dorian, with composer Ted Dykstra and a short chamber opera, Milk Bar, with composer Jim O’Leary, which was performed as a student production at Mount Allison University in 2014. He is currently working on a full-length opera, Sikutopia, with Greenlandic composer, Arnannguaq Gerstrøm.
He is also completing a poetry collection, Red Planet Postcards, to be published in 2016. Our Lady Of Steerage is his first novel. His web site is www.stevenmayoff.ca
Show Me the Way to Go Home
Product Code: 012
AUTHOR: DOROTHY JANE CULLEN SCHWARTZ
Show Me the Way to Go Home, is the memoir of a 1940s-1950s girlhood in the area around West Orange, New Jersey. Dependent on a pretty but feckless single mother, boarding with relatives and acquaintances, attending many different schools, Dorothy Jane survives sharing beds with not always happy relatives, a spell in a night-care home, playing poker in smoky rooms, and her mother`s raffish companions; recalling adored teachers with clarity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dorothy Jane (Deejay) Cullen Schwartz, a retired kindergarten teacher, lives with her husband of fifty years in a small town in New Jersey. They have two daughters and two granddaughters. In contrast to her wandering childhood, she has lived in the same house for more than forty years. Deejay is a life-long anti-war activist.
"I read Show Me the Way to Go Home over a period of several days, and each time I picked it up to read, it was hard to put down. The photos were a great help. Dorothy Jane’s ability to recall so many details from the past impressed me throughout this remarkable memoir. I can only thank her for sending it to me." - With gratitude, George Anderson , S.J., America Magazine, assoc. editor
"In Dorothy Jane Cullen Schwartz's exceptional memoir, Show Me the Way to Go Home, the author takes us deep inside the little girl Deejay was at six and seven and beyond. The author’s troubled – and at times joyous – childhood is powerfully recorded because of her ability to make us see, hear and feel very clearly what she experienced as a child. There is an extraordinary sense of immediacy that stays with the reader long after she puts the book down. This memoir is not only a story about privation and love; it also takes us on a young girl’s journey to find "her rightful place in the world." Deejay's encounter with the Catholic Church, rendered so humorously and movingly, as she struggles to have something in the world that is her own, and so discovers her "self," is really quite profound." - Dr. Judith R. Berzon, author of Neither White Nor Black: The Mulatto Character in American Fiction, 1978 Gotham Library of New York University Press
" I often watched Dorothy Jane D.J. Schwartz with my own and others’ children. I watched in awe. From whence came this insight, this ability to connect so deeply and personally with each one?
I thought I knew D.J., but Show Me the Way to Go Home opened the doors to a story I never knew, to suffering I could not have imagined. The book caused me to understand that, deprived as D.J. was of all that made a child feel safe, loved, happy, challenged, good – she devoted her life to ensure that each child with whom she came in contact would know that, if she were near, if she had any input into what might happen, that child would be safe, loved, challenged, nurtured, cared for – with all the love and insight D.J. gained in her life and in her adult career.
It is clear that D.J. paid in spades throughout her young life for her ability to reach the hearts of children and then, to be able to encourage those children to embrace life and to be builders of a better future for the children to come after them. " - Elizabeth McAlister, Johan House, Baltimore