The Steppes Are the Colour of Sepia: A Mennonite Memoir invites the reader to embark on a journey that traces the paths of ancestral memory over the steppes of the Russian empire to the valleys of Canada’s Fraser River. Connie Braun’s narrative continues where Sandra Birdsell’s historical fiction Russländer has left off – back to the catastrophic events of twentieth-century Eastern Europe. Braun intimately ushers us into the life of one extended Mennonite family, and in particular the life of her father and grandfather, living under the terror of Stalin, and later, under the military expansion of Hitler’s Nazi regime in the Ukraine. In the vein of Janice Kulyk Keefer’s memoir Honey and Ashes: A Story of Family and Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces, Braun gives voice to the narrative of dispossession. In a memoir that is historically faithful to documents, letters, old photographs and personal testimony, Braun offers a lyrical second-generation witness to all those who have suffered displacement in history’s disasters, and whose obscure stories must be told. In doing so, she honours the spirit of resilience embodied by the refugees who have created and transformed Canadian society. The Steppes Are the Colour of Sepia is available through Ronsdale Press and Amazon.
Listen to Connie being interviewed about the book and her writing process:
Pre-orders for her long anticipated book, Silentium, now available through Amazon.
"To seek meaning, to make sense of our world and our being in it, is the quest of narrative and why we construct it. Telling one another our stories is an innate human impulse, and, as narrative theorists claim, the distinct and defining quality of being human. As temporal beings grounded in time and space we long for relationship, connection and belonging in our world. The primordial human instinct is to seek to order chaos of our lives and to experience transcendence. In narrative we experience, as Paul Ricoeur states, the 'continued temporality' of a person which produces both."-- Connie T. Braun