Our Voices is Book of the Month at Lost Weekend Munich:
Kirkus Reviews has recently provided a very positive review, available at:
You can also read a Book Review on NetGalley:
Further Books Reviews are available on Goodreads:
Additional Reviews and Readers' Feedback at Launch Events and Book Signings are available on my website:
If you read Our Voices and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
Thank you in advance!
"Radovan's debut family memoir explores intergenerational trauma against the backdrop of postwar Romania.
At the time of the Romanian Revolution in 1989, the author was a 7-year-old, red-tie–wearing detachment commander of her elementary school’s Communist youth organization. One day, the photograph of the president that hung in the classroom—before which the young author had led her classmates in the national anthem—had been replaced by a picture of the Virgin Mary, and the reality of their previous existence soon became clear: “I hadn’t known we needed help; that we were poor; that our president was an evil dictator,” writes Radovan. “I thought he was our loving father. I thought we were the richest country in the world.” In this book, Radovan, a writer and educator, shares stories from both sides of the divide—the Romania under Communist rule and the one that came after—drawing not only on her own memories, but on those of her mother, Mia, whose life was split between Communist and post-Communist governance, and her grandfather Iuliu, a political dissident who died shortly after being released from a Communist prison. Using diary entries, poems, photographs, and essays, the author cobbles together a family history out of fragments, effectively reflecting the shattered nature of lives under and after authoritarianism. Radovan’s writing has a lyrical quality throughout, whether it takes the form of poetry or prose, offering readers an incantatory blend of the remembered, the overheard, and the imagined: “I imagine my mother as a child, sitting at a desk, reading the books that I will later discover in our home library, all the books that the censors had failed to ban. I imagine her, my aunt, my grandmother, sitting around the kitchen table, at the dim light of the oil lamp, during electricity cuts.” The variation in structure and voice makes for an engaging read throughout even if the overall narrative sometimes feels ephemeral. It’s an impressionistic work but one that manages to communicate the sting of oppression and loss.
A chimeric remembrance that delves into the legacy of Romania’s troubled past."
by Kirkus Reviews
This book had such an incredible impact on me. With stunning and immersive prose and poetry, I was steeped in emotion. I learned things about myself through the eyes and words of the author. I connected on a deep level with a story that is not my own but that resonates. I am so overcome by feeling, having just now closed the book, and will be thinking of this story for weeks to come.
by Amie McCracken on Goodreads
"Our Voices" by Diana Radovan is a heart-wrenching memoir about the stories of our ancestors and how they can help us to discover our life story. Exploring identity, memory, and nature, Radovan's message is about freedom and the limitless opportunities that arise when one allows space for the heart to speak. The voice of the heart is healing, it holds memories and dreams that have been sculpted by painful experiences, but in order to keep writing our story, those memories and dreams need to be released through personal will, choice, and freedom.
The uniqueness of this book made it more personal than other memoirs I have read. It's a collection of thoughts, diaries, and poems that are out of chronological order yet still tell a coherent story, layered with bits of mythology and lyricism. The themes are poignant and highly relevant, with liminal messages that will reach those beyond time and place. I think above all else it is a personal healing manifesto that gives voices to the familial, political, and social traumas and releases them into nature where they can be healed and released. I connected to Diana Radovan's voice and her hybrid writing style and I think she has potential to write a magical realism novel about her experiences...something in the vein of Isabel Allende.
Regenerative and inspiring.
by Tanja F. on Netgalley
"I love you, but I can no longer prove it."
This is a delicate and gorgeous memoir that is its own universe. Family, intergenerational trauma, breaking the chain, living history, nature. Creativity. Self-examination and growth. The structure of the book itself is like a wild garden--not always manicured, trails leading to places and double-backing. A stop at a poem, like a little pool. A photo; earth-toned, giving form and weight. Like a stone. It is ultimately, an experience of life. But there is also a solemnity to reading it, that is not unfamiliar to the feeling when walking through a graveyard. Behind the hushed beauty of stones and angels are entire stories and lives. You must tread carefully and with respect.
A true hybrid memoir: with photos, poetry and prose (most of it hers, some of it, the words of her family), Radovan outlines the experience of growing up in communist Romania--the effect the regime had personally, on her family. The mental stress that was very likely the trigger for pushing her own mother into a psychic darkness she could never walk back out of. Her own battles with trying to balance the needs of her parents and needing to 'not be anyone's mother.' If you are a kid of a parent who struggled with mental health and you remember that darkness affecting you, before you could voice what it was.... ...If you are a parent, who feels your own darkness affecting your child, and cannot help but sink into the guilt of having brought a person on this Earth, of replicating your own chaotic genes, this will hit you hard.
Radovan says (paraphrase) that family cycles continue until someone breaks the chain. So many times, it seems we live life unable to examine it real-time, only looking back once irreversible decisions have been made. Realising too late we've fulfilled our own curse. But what if you could examine? Is writing and creativity a way for us to actually rewrite our life? Could it be?
But oh, this book brought up so many topics that are dear to me (including feminism, how do we balance our creativity // work // family, the effect of chronic health issues can have over the years--and never being able to go back home again.
"Your life doesn't interest me at all,
just show me your papers."
Ohh, the chronic foreigners felt that punch. Deep in the gut.
How many punches can you take? How many falls?
Radovan shows us, when you're a writer, you have infinite lives.
I reached the end of "Our Voices" with a feeling of peace and a sense of inspiration and admiration for the power of creativity to keep us going. There was so much relatability in these pages: as a person, a partner, a family member, a writer. A lifelong struggler. This is a book that is unapologetically only about itself, letting us readers (and writers and creatives and citizens) know that it is all right sometimes to prioritize our own voice. It is sometimes the only thing that will carry us through to another day.
by I. Merey on Goodreads
Diana Radovan's book “Our Voices” is absolutely engaging! Her lyrical writing style, along with the poetry that she sprinkles throughout the book, is a veritable feast for anyone who loves language. She skilfully writes about the struggles of three generations impacted by political winds beyond their control which, sadly, are still relevant today. The protagonist's remarkable resilience kept me turning pages to the very end!
by Esther Auerbach
Diana Radovan PhD ELS is a Romanian-born (1982) multilingual and multigenre author, currently living in the Bavarian Alpine village of Lenggries, Germany. To date, she has lived in Romania, Canada, and Germany.
She is a regular contributor at Headline Poetry and Press, the Arcana 2020 literary curator, and the founder and former workshop leader of the multicultural group Creative Writing in Munich. Earlier, she was a teacher at Sarah Selecky Writing School and a reader and editor at Flash Fiction Magazine. She now teaches a workshop on kaleidoscopic narratives in Tawnya Renelle's online school Beyond Form Creative Writing.
Her writing poems, short stories, personal essays, and hybrid forms has been published internationally since 2004 in literary magazines and anthologies, online and in print, in English, Romanian, and German, and has brought her many awards and nominations over the years, including for the Best of the Net award and the Virginia Woolf literary prize.
Our Voices is her first book and a love letter to everyone who has lived under oppression at some point during their lives (and isn't that all of us?). It is also an invitation to her readers to seek expression of their own hidden family stories and to engage in a search for personal identity through writing, nature exploration, and other creative means.
Discover Diana's publications, awards, and creative writing philosophy at www.dianaradovan.com and www.naturewriting.net.