Harrowingly raw, this poignant memoir tells of a Romani woman’s remarkable resilience and tenacious determination to educate herself to freedom.
Documenting horrific experiences of child abuse, violent misogyny and racism, the unflinching truths of this memoir might make for harrowing reading, but it’s delivered in engaging prose and underpinned by a spirit of resistance propelled by the author’s desire to educate herself.
Eliska was born in Slovakia to a thirteen-year-old Romani prostitute and a twenty-three-year-old German whose friends paid for her mother as a birthday present. For Eliska home was never where the heart was. Rather, it was “where I was shaken awake by my drunk Ma’s dirty foot getting tangled in my matted hair”, and worse. Though a racist brute, her father – who’s described as being “as dirty-dicked as my conception implies” - insists she attends school, with her visits to him in Germany opening a life-changing window on the world. As a result, she’s thrilled when her mother sends her to England.
Filled with dreams of becoming literate, the reality is that thirteen-year-old Eliska was trafficked. Though life in England initially sees her become a “beaten shadow of myself”, even longing “for the decay of my home”, Eliska somehow survives and takes herself through university, despite the most brutal of attacks, and against the most awful odds. In her poignant, timely epilogue, the author raises the issue of rising anti-immigrant attitudes in contemporary Britain and reiterates the central tenet of her affecting memoir: she was saved by an irrepressible desire to educate herself, and “nothing will break me”.
For fans of Educated, this is the remarkable true story of a girl from a Romani ghetto in search of a better life.
Eliska Tanzer is a dreamer.
Born into a family of prostitutes in a Romani ghetto, she grows up in squalid conditions, with no running water, no education, and no future.
Desperate to make her own way in the world, Eliska sets in motion a chain of events that will lead her to England, to school, and to within inches of her dreams.
But the brutalities of her new life threaten to turn the dream into a nightmare.
This is her story. A true story of resilience, determination, and hunger to learn. A story of a girl on the brink.
A moving and timely memoir from a powerful new voice in literature.
|Publication date:||13th February 2020|
|Primary Genre||Biographies & Autobiographies|
'A remarkable book about the hardest of beginnings written in a voice that is vibrant, sparkling, full of irrepressible humour, compassionate intelligence and ultimately forgiveness' Catherine Simpson
Eliska Tanzer is a writer and dancer, not always at the same time. She completed a Creative Writing degree at the University of Wolverhampton and this is her first book. Eliska spends her time in the Midlands with an uncomfortably large collection of notebooks and sequins.More About Eliska Tanzer