Tiny Lights for Travellers
Why couldn't I occupy the world as those model-looking women did, with their flowing hair, pulling their tiny bright suitcases as if to say, I just arrived from elsewhere, and I already belong here, and this sidewalk belongs to me?
When her marriage suddenly ends, and a diary documenting her beloved Opa's escape from Nazi-occupied Netherlands in the summer of 1942 is discovered, Naomi Lewis decides to retrace his journey to freedom. Travelling alone from Amsterdam to Lyon, she discovers family secrets and her own narrative as a second-generation Jewish Canadian. With vulnerability, humour, and wisdom, Lewis's memoir asks tough questions about her identity as a secular Jew, the accuracy of family stories, and the impact of the Holocaust on subsequent generations.
About the Author
"Tiny Lights for Travellers starts with a zit, percolating brightly on the nose of our author while she takes the transatlantic flight that begins the book. In a strange, unlikely, funny, unabashed and endearing way, this first image in Naomi K. Lewis's reluctant, almost anti-travel memoir encapsulates much of what her book is about."—Laurie D. Graham
"When Naomi Lewis was a child, no one in her family talked about the fact that her grandfather had escaped Nazi-occupied Europe, largely by foot and through the kindness of strangers. In fact, no one spoke much about that part of their family history, at all."
"After her grandfather's death, when Lewis's parents were moving her grandmother into an assisted-living facility, they found a yellowed, type-written document: 30 foolscap pages in Dutch, and 30 pages translated into English. It recounted her grandfather's escape [from Nazi occupation] into southern France. Lewis, a short story writer and novelist, transcribed her grandfather's journal, and later traced her grandfather's route, travelling from Amsterdam to Lyon, discovering family secrets along the way."
"I just finished reading Tiny Lights for Travellers by Naomi K. Lewis and I can't recommend it enough.... [T]his book is beautifully written, immediate, entertaining, and engrossing."
# 8 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Non-fiction, December 01, 2019
# 10 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Non-fiction, September 20, 2020
"Calgary author Naomi K. Lewis joins educator Abby Wener Herlin in conversation about her well-regarded memoir, Tiny Lights for Travellers. Nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction in 2019, Tiny Lights for Travellers explores her Jewish identity while retracing her grandfather's escape from the Nazi-occupied Netherlands." [https://www.straight.com/arts/family-stories-run-through-vancouvers-cherie-smith-jcc-jewish-book-festival]—Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight
#10 on the Calgary Non-fiction Bestsellers list, May 25, 2023
#9 on the Calgary Non-fiction Bestsellers list, June 15, 2023
"Early on in Tiny Lights for Travellers, author Naomi Lewis admits she is a poor traveller. She is, however, a master navigator of her own interior geography. In this quiet, humble, and profoundly openhearted memoir, Lewis maps her family's history, her relationship to faith, and the loves she has both lost and gained. As a reader, I feel thankful to have been invited on the journey."—Marcello Di Cintio, author of Pay No Heed to the Rockets
"An irresistibly wise, poignant, and often funny memoir, a spiral dance through time and space exploring memory, desire, the roots of family, race, and religion; as well as what it means to belong in one's own skin."—Lauren B. Davis, author of The Grimoire of Kensington Market, The Empty Room, and others
"I was deeply engaged with Naomi's journey through Europe while also curious about and interested in the memories of her family life, her marriage, her questions of identity, and a burgeoning love story. A hugely intelligent and creative memoir."—Lauren Carter, author of Following Sea
Other Titles by Naomi K. Lewis
Other Titles from Wayfarer
Other Titles in BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs