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When the River Ice Flows, I Will Come Home

A Memoir

Leaving her husband and children in Seattle traveling back and forth to Russia pursuing a career, Brodinsky Miller discovers she’s writing her own chapter in a book of three generations—her grandparents’ drives to escape the Jewish worlds of Tsarist Russia, her immigrant parents’ hopes for their marriage in America—and now her turn to reach for meaning and purpose: each a generation of aspirations—first theirs, now hers.

Author Information

Brodinsky MillerElisa:

Elisa Brodinsky Miller, PhD, has a long career in Russian Far East business and trade: both in academia (University of Washington) and in the business community. Based in Seattle, her monthly publication, Russian Far East Update (1991-1999) provided commercial intelligence on the Russian Far East for a global readership. Alongside her newsletter, she published four editions of The Russian Far East: A Business Reference Guide. She presently works in graphic narrative and lives on Whidbey Island in the State of Washington.

Elisa Brodinsky Miller, PhD, has a long career in Russian Far East business and trade: both in academia (University of Washington) and in the business community. Based in Seattle, her monthly publication, Russian Far East Update (1991-1999) provided commercial intelligence on the Russian Far East for a global readership. Alongside her newsletter, she published four editions of The Russian Far East: A Business Reference Guide. She presently works in graphic narrative and lives on Whidbey Island in the State of Washington.

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“Prominent University of Washington scholar Elisa Miller finds a cache of letters when her father dies that set her on a quest to discover the history of her paternal Russian Jewish grandparents. Quotes from their letters and postcards highlight the increasing struggles of daily life in post-1917 Bolshevik Russia and eventual emigration to America. Interwoven are excerpts from the author’s life—her academic pursuits, and role as an intermediary that helps businesses like Alaska Airlines begin to operate in the Russian Far East after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Descriptions of the profound stillness of the frozen northern taiga to a personal journey of facing and embracing her own Jewishness enrich the narrative. Abundant maps and delightful illustrations add to the text.” —Patricia Polansky, Russian Bibliographer, University of Hawaii at Manoa

When the River Ice Flows, I Will Come Homeis a moving memoir that lovingly recreates the lives of Elisa Miller’s father and his family as Jews in the dying years of the Romanov dynasty. Drawing on a collection of letters and postcards, Miller chronicles the drama and horror of the times—pogroms, war, revolution, and emigration—and tells of her own experiences with the land of her ancestors. An evocative and deeply felt journey of discovery.”

—Douglas Smith, author of Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy

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Audience: WHEN THE RIVER ICE FLOWS, I WILL COME HOME will appeal to readers who love history, and the investigative/seeking mind. This memoir will also appeal to the modern American woman in search of the motherhood/otherhood balance, as well as to those for whom Judaism is a constant question, What does it mean to me to be Jewish? It will attract readers interested in Jewish cultural identity, the immigrant experience, the balance of career and family, and Russian and Soviet history.

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