Moving From Memoir to Novel: Jane Boruszewski's Story ESCAPE FROM RUSSIA
Allyson Latta in the fall of 2008. Jane was writing her memoir, in English, her second language. She had taken other courses and was fluent enough in English to begin writing her stories, seven of which were published in Oasis Journal. Compelled by a need to tell her life story, she continued writing until her death in August 2009, at the age of 82.
Jane’s personality was shaped by her extraordinary experiences. Her writing is important because it gives a human scale to the horrors and suffering of deportation and a life that most of us can’t imagine and have never experienced. She engages the reader by focusing on universal themes of family, love, hate, sickness and death. Then she slows down the narrative so that we can visualize a young couple in the glade in the taiga, and adds just enough context, that the dangers of their encounter are apparent. Too much context would lose the reader. Jane shows the reader what the characters are like with a skillful use of powerful verbs, subtle mention of small gestures or body language and terse bits of dialogue.
After Jane’s death, her husband, Walter Boruszewski, worked with Leila Joiner, editor of Oasis Journal and publisher of Imago Press and Pennywyse Press, to publish a novel based on Jane’s memoirs called ESCAPE FROM RUSSIA. The book is available from Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Don’t miss it.
Copyright © 2010, Ruth Zaryski Jackson