276pp., b/w & colour illus., hardback, d.w., Johannesburg, 2018.
Winner of the 2019 Alan Paton Award for non-fiction.
In this collection of essays that are part memoir, part travelogue, part analysis Terry Kurgan presents a family snapshot made by her Polish grandfather in 1939 on the eve of WWII as "a repository of multiple histories — public, private, domestic, familial and generational" and goes on to explore how photographs work: "what they conceal, how they mislead, what provocations they contain". from the inside front cover
"Kurgan has achieved something rare in this book: a truly dynamic fusion of text and image. She brings a deep knowledge of craft to everyday images, whether she’s teasing fugitive meanings from a creased pre-war snapshot or taking the pulse of an apparently impersonal digital image. The result is both a moving family memoir and an illuminating reflection on photography and memory." Ivan Vladislavić, author of "Portrait with Key" and "Double Negative"
"On the basis of a detailed war-time diary and a collection of family photos left by her grandfather, Terry Kurgan builds a gripping family memoir/detective story that takes us from Poland through Romania, Turkey and India to South Africa. Balancing her account of this global Jewish refugee journey with illuminating microscopic readings of seemingly ordinary images, Kurgan invites us into the intimacies of family in conditions of extremity, even as she zooms out again to explore the revelatory power and the frustrating limits of photographs in our search for the textures of past lives." Marianne Hirsch, author of "The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture after the Holocaust"
Artist and writer Terry Kurgan has won the FNB Vita Art Prize and the inaugural Mbokoda Photography Award. Her previous books are "Johannesburg Circa Now" (co-edited with Jo Rachtliffe) and "Hotel Yeoville". She lives in Johannesburg.