NPR

'All Ships Follow Me' Rustles Up Questions About The Privilege To Be Heard

Mieke Eerkens has written an engrossing memoir on the interesting, even inspiring, stories of her parents after WWII. Yet despite its careful questioning and analysis, it's an uncomfortable read.
All Ships Follow Me, by Mieke Eerkens Source: Beth Novey

The existence of All Ships Follow Me presents a series of problems.

The book itself is unimpeachably competent; Mieke Eerkens has an impressive pedigree as a writer, and this engrossing debut memoir proves out her training, as well as the years of sustained effort she must have undertaken to write it. However, the sheer fact of the book rustles up troubling questions about memory, vengeance, oppression, and the privilege to be heard.

Whole libraries of literature, entire museums, are devoted to the memories of those who died in the Holocaust, and those who fought on behalf of the Allies. However, Eerkens's parents — the subjects of her memoir — suffered ambiguously compared to these clear-cut horrors. Her father, Jeff, was the child of

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