The despair of refugees has haunted us long before the civil war in Syria. Lyse Champagne's evocative new story collection attempts to put these collective and individual tragedies into an historical context.
Two Armenian sisters write to each other in the year leading up to the deportations.  A young Ukrainian mother embroiders her life story as famine threatens.  A boy travels to Hong Kong by train while the Japanese march towards his hometown of Nanjing.  A Jewish girl collects words and falls in love as she hides in a French mountain village in 1942.  A Cambodian refugee recalls his childhood in his home country and his new life in Canada on a makeshift stage.  A Rwandan family prepares to emigrate days before President Habyarimana's plane is shot down.
These stories span the twentieth century and reach into the twenty-first. We discover letters, maps, and the kindness of strangers.  Word lists, a falling piano, and young love.  Hiding places, history lessons, and conversations around the table. Music, a makeshift stage, and life breathed into memories.
Lyse Champagne writes in French and in English. Her stories have appeared in Descant, The New Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, Room of One's Own, Windsor Review, and Wascana Review. She is the author of Double Vision, a memoir about growing up French in Ontario, and a play, Chicane de famille, which won the David Smith Playwriting Prize. She lives in Ottawa with her family.