A small town in Siberia, 1969. Icy cold. Eleven-year-old Vera is attacked by her classmates on a deserted street and insulted as a fascist. Deeply humiliated, the girl goes in search of her roots. When her mother Anna lets her into the family history, Vera begins a journey into the past. Her ancestors, strict Mennonites, emigrated from West Prussia to Russia at the beginning of the 19th century, to what is now eastern Ukraine. Vera learns the story of her family over six generations, gripping life stories that are mirrored through the centuries to the present day: from the modest prosperity of the devout colonists in Tsarist times to inhuman deprivation, existential hardship and discrimination during the Soviet dictatorship to the idyllic summers on the Georgian coast in the 1970s.
The Daughters' Memory is the stirring chronicle of a German family trying to put down roots in crisis-ridden Russia. Irene Langemann climbs the tendrils of the family tree with virtuosity, follows wild ramifications and in the process creates a tightly woven web of past and future. A deeply moving novel about the search for identity in a foreign land, about the many facets of loneliness and the power to overcome it.
Irene Langemann, born in 1959 in Issilkul (Siberia), grew up bilingually in a German family. She went to Moscow at 17, studied acting and German language and literature and worked as an author, actress and presenter. In 1990 she emigrated to Germany. Since then she has lived in Cologne and works as an author and director for film and television. Her documentaries have won numerous international awards.