My Sky Blue Trades: Growing Up Counter in a Contrary Time
In The Gutenburg Elegies, a widely acclaimed New York TimesNotable Book, Sven Birkerts won attention as a graceful and thoughtful essayist, an eloquent advocate of literature in an age of electronic media. Now he shows what only literature can do, in a moving, compelling, brilliantly written memoir that probes what it means to be an American with roots in a distant culture. As a boy growing up in suburban Detroit, Birkerts always felt intensely uncomfortable with his family's ties to Latvia-the birthplace of all four of his grandparents. And yet his struggle to find his own path led inexorably back through the overgrown garden of family lore. Birkerts deftly weaves his own history (from struggles with his overbearing father to adventures at Woodstock, from lost loves to his emergence as a writer) with episodes from his ancestors' lives-scenes from Riga and Moscow during the Russian Revolution, tales of Paris and mistresses and family scandals. My Sky Blue Tradesis destined to be a classic exploration of the immigrant experience and the writer's inner life.