This story was featured in Episode 67 (please listen!)
Liliana Arkuszewski lives in Ottawa. Her life is full of adventures – she spends half of each year in Mexico. And on her way to Canada in the early 1980s. she travelled across three continents. Years later she wrote a book about her immigration journey – it was published in Polish and was titled “Czy było warto? Odyseja dżinsowych Kolumbów”.
Now, a few years later, her book was translated to English by Charles S. Kraszewski and published under the title “Was it worth it? Columbus in jeans”. It’s the book’s (and its author’s) new life…
“The arrival of the 1980s saw millions living behind the Iron Curtain flee their homeland in search of a better tomorrow. Step-by-step, they trudged persistently to reach their dream of happiness. These were the Columbuses of the 1980s – risk takers who had the courage to test themselves and explore the notoriety of the western world first-hand.
‘Was It Worth’ It is a modern odyssey spanning three continents and following one family’s path to a new, unfamiliar future. It tells of the characters’ struggle to adapt to foreign places, languages and customs. With settings in Lima, Paris, Ottawa, and exploring venues in other countries, the book offers readers an insight into what it takes to start from scratch in an unknown land.” (about the book)
Some of the readers’ comments:
• Columbus in Jeans is an absolutely amazing story. A story of flight to freedom. I couldn’t put it down.
This memoir, written by Liliana Arkuszewska, is filled with the same thoughts that were running through my mind with each page I turned. When she was scared, I was scared. When she was happy, I was happy. I felt it all through her words because her account brings the truth to life. I gave this book 5 stars for the emotional intensity that captured my soul and took me along on their journey. (…)
• It doesn’t often happen that I read a 500-page book within two days. But it happened with “Was It Worth It, Columbus in Jeans”. What a tale! A true story! (…) Very quickly you find yourself intertwined with incredible adventure and characters, which will not allow you to put the book down. Always curious to know what happens next, you keep turning page after page throughout the day until the wee hours.
Throughout the whole story, you are constantly wondering if their plans would work, if they would succeed, whether they would make it or get discouraged with the struggles and life circumstances.
You cry and laugh, and then laugh and cry some more. (…) Liliana Arkuszewska is a writer of unique talent that brings a story to life. Part of this talent is based on her credibility. She has an unrivalled capacity to make the reader believe in what she writes. She paints the picture not only how her world looks like but how it feels. Her writing is bravely honest, engaging and real. Some say that every jurney has an end, but Liliana’s keeps going. I would love to read continuation of her story.
• I’m a part of that generation from the same country and the same City. The truth about living conditions in communist country is revealed perfectly in this book. This is beautiful description of the life path of educated courageous people looking for a new life in different kind of world. Modern time pilgrims. Highly recommended!