The new book is Cold Welcome. The new new book is the book after that, which presently is undergoing some restructuring…since its beginning is now the end of Cold Welcome. I’ve been doing some analytical thinking about it, because it should have a series of reveals, like the opening of a rose, and it would not do to have the stamens on the outside and the center of the rose nothing but five petals meeting in the middle of nothing.
Families have histories…and then families have legends. Some of the legends are historically accurate and some are not. Memories get tangled. The understanding of why someone did something is particularly likely to be morphed by the family legend, for better or for worse but certainly not for accuracy. So consider the Vatta family. Where did they come from?
Those who have read the short story “Say Cheese” will know that the family may not always have been perfectly respectable, though they have been rich and respectable for some generations now. At least most of them. Though every family also has some thistles in the wheat, and the original Vatta’s War books made it clear that Osman Vatta–perhaps Ky’s father’s age or a little older–was one such. In Cold Welcome, there’s a little more about the Vattas, including when they arrived on Slotter Key. The new new book will reveal yet more about the Vatta family’s origin…and the consequences of some early decisions.
How much does someone need to know about their ancestry in order to understand themselves? Nobody knows for sure. Some people know nothing, and shrug it off. Others are intensely interested and frustrated by what they don’t know. But if something someone did generations back means that you’re being hunted, generations later…? That’s different. Or is it?
Within the story, the two cousins, Ky and Stella, grew up in apparently intact families. Ky was never very interested in her forebears; Stella was only moderately so (because the explanation was that she looked like her mother’s family, she was interested in them; Ky, who looked more like her father, paid less attention to her mother’s family.) But now Stella, knowing her true parentage (or half of it) has become very interested in what she might have inherited from her birth father. And Ky? Still not interested. Yet.
Grace Lane Vatta, on the other hand, may know more than she wants to about her ancestry. Will that be a factor in what’s coming? Or just her own actions, not her parentage? Not there yet. The charts are growing, the interlacement of relationships is getting more complex.
8 thoughts on “The New New Book”
My mother and I were recently going over a binder of family history stuff. The story has always been two Russian Jews, one coming over to join his mother in America and another fleeing the Cossacks met on the boat and fell in love and just HAD to get married. All technically true as the city was Russian territory at the time though it’s in Poland now and they did HAVE to get married if you count the number of weeks between the wedding and my great uncle Bernhardt* being born. A binder full of documents does change it all from something romantic into practical every day life stuff though.
*My great-uncle born in early 1918 went off to World War II and served in England as part of the Army Medical Corps and then became a professor of microbiology. His son, my mother’s Cousin Bernard became a doctor and delivered me.
Iphinome, your great uncle being born early in 1918 means your great grandparents came to America in 1917? Turbulent times for Russian Poland even before the communist revolution in October so yes, it could well be technically true that she was fleeing from one group or another. And no ships out of the Baltic then, so overland through Scandinavia, Persia or Vladivostock? Awesome journey.
Before I looked in the binder, the tales combines with the family name and where people with it tended to be located made it sound like they were from near Kiev.
The documents say they both came from Białystok. That’s Poland now, (And this is not the time to dwell on what happened there in the 30 years after they left especially in the 40’s, if either or both of then had cousins *shudder*) both were native Russian speakers though and my grandmother always considered herself ethnically Russian. The binder has info on the port they used, I want to say Konigsberg/Kalinigrad, but I don’t have it, my mother does and that stuff is all I have to work with and I don’t like to dig into genealogical research for fear of other people getting their hands on it, do you know how many times Anne Frank has been proxy baptized? I don’t care to have my ancestor’s memories so dishonored.
More Grace and Stella and Ky! Looking forward to this.
Do you think the release of Cold Welcome is still about a year away? I’m missing my Moon fix 🙂 Hopefully the edits received a warmer welcome.
Iphinome: Fascinating stuff, old records. In poking into mine, from time to time, I’ve found errors and interesting bits both.
I completely understand your wish not to have your ancestors “proxy-baptized” though I think the dishonor belongs to those who do such things, rather than those on whom they perform the rite. The arrogance is obvious on the surface; the deeper arrogance is to assume that the deity these people profess to worship needs their help to “save” those not in their particular group, alive *or* dead. (In my more flippant moods, I imagine a sort of theological whack-a-mole going on, in which souls already judged and consigned to Hell are proxy-baptized and pop up hopefully, only to be thumped on the head and sent back down. Nobody can be sure that great-great-great-great-to-the-tenth gramps and gramma weren’t horrible people who made their living as torturers and deserved a fiery eternity. Given the sexual proclivities of history’s nastiest men, it’s likely many of us could trace a line back to villains…the women had fewer children, but could be just as nasty even with limited resources.) (And Mother’s Day is probably a very bad time to have an attack of Flippant Mood, with a lovely and very sentimental card from my son sitting right here on top of the computer tower.)
Anyway, given the various migrations between Russia “proper” (if it ever was Russia proper) and nearby western countries, and the historical events that made being able to claim Russian identity v. Polish or German or whatever, you’d have a long, difficult hunt to figure out whether your more remote ancestors were one or the other or mixed. Many strains of culture and ancestry roamed in that area. Tribe after tribe moved west, was pushed back, moved west again, moved north and south along the rivers, picking up languages and religions and other cultural bits as they moved.
Caryn: Glad you’re willing to see more of the family.
Dale: I think definitely a year away. I’m still working on subsequent revision requests. It’s a good thing. It will be better for Editor’s input.
My full feelings on that particular religious practice are rather negative and tied up in issues from both my upbringing and some unpleasant events in European history. Expanding on it would be offtopic and might serve to make some people feel unwelcome so on that point it’s probably best that I withdraw from the field.
That should be easy. I swear I had a sword with me when I left Paksworld but it was gone when I appeared on this station.
I should also take a moment to note that I object to fiery eternities. Eternity is so very long. If 100 years isn’t long enough for anyone to pay for their misdeeds surely a billion would do. A trillion? The heat death of the universe and still no parole?