Whisperings in the Blood reviewed by Jenny


In this family memoir Shelley Davidow finds echoes and resonances of her own life in that of her grandmother “Bee”. Her real name was Bertha, a poor Jewish girl whose parents fled Germany to escape the holocaust. Their optimism for a new life in America quickly fades as unexpected challenges present themselves and, as the girl grows to womanhood, she has to use all her resources to create a viable future for herself.

By the time she is in her 20’s the pretty and likeable Bertha, chasing her own dream, is on her way to live in South Africa. But far from the perfect world Bertha has imagined she has to face a new set of family problems, a divided society and the rising controversy of apartheid. More difficult decisions need to be made. By this time Bee has a granddaughter, Shelley, growing up and weighing up her own options.

The experiences of grandmother and granddaughter intersect. As she reflects on the highs and lows Bertha experienced, Shelley develops her instinct for survival and starts to make fresh choices which take her both closer to and further from her past.

This is a very human and engaging tale which sympathetically reflects on the experiences of so many in the modern world, travelling from one country to another searching for the ideal life.


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