Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. KRAMBAMBULI is a memoir of the author's childhood experiences during and subsequent to World War II. She documents three stages of displacement due to war: escaping destruction in Estonia, living as a refugee in Germany and Austria, and beginning a new life as an immigrant first in the United States, and later in Canada. KRAMBAMBULI is not meant to be a historical account. Rather, it offers a child's perspective of the situations and people making up her early existence: her handsome and charming father, Isa, who sweeps into her life at intervals but provides no financial support; her disciplinarian mother, Ema, an optimist and extremely competent survivor who uses her creativity to make even a small rudimentary space attractive and homey; the hated Onu Gusti; and the many others who pass through this transitory time dominated by war. The book is a moving account of child's experience in a camp for displaced persons and of growing up as a displaced child and daughter of a single mother in America. Totsu, the child, is terrorized by the war and the disruption and fears losing her mother's love to a male lover and the possibility of being displaced by a half-sibling. She endures multiple new school and language situations and the added angst that being a displaced person can add to the life of a teenager. With such different personalities, she and her mother live their lives in both conflict, and in the knowledge that they are all each other has.
Syr Ruus was born in Tallinn, Estonia, during the Second World War. As a small child, she escaped with her mother to Germany and subsequently immigrated to the United States where she earned an MA in English, an MS in Education, and taught briefly in the English Department of Illinois State University. She moved to Nova Scotia in 1968 where she worked as an elementary school teacher while raising her three children before devoting herself full-time to writing. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies and journals. Her 2006 novel, Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart, won the Writer's Federation of N.S.H.R. (Bill) Percy Prize. Since then, she published three books of fiction inspired by the South Shore of Nova Scotia: Devil's Hump (2013), The Story of Gar (2014), shortlisted for the Ken Klonsky Novella Award, and In Pleasantry (2016). Her newest work is a novella, Walls of the Cave (2019).Author City: LAHAVE, NS CAN