Mother Tongue: A Saga of Three Generations of Balkan Women (Paperback)

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*** A MUST READ FOR TRAVELERS TO CROATIA ***

Mother Tongue is an exploration of lives lived in the chaos of a part of the world known as the Balkans. It follows the lives of three generations of women―Katarina, Zora, and Tania―over the last 100 years. It follows countries that dissolved, formed, and reformed. Lands that were conquered and subjugated by Fascists and Nazis and nationalists. Lives lived in exile, in refugee camps, in new worlds.

Tania Romanov's story clarifies the history and geography of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro by pulling you into the lives of real people. It makes those countries come alive.

And through it all glows a love of language.

What is your mother tongue? What language did you speak with your mother? What language did you speak with your father? What language did you speak with your brother? For Tania Romanov there are three different answers to those questions.

Did you speak your mother tongue with anyone except your mother? That is the most bizarre question of all. But for Tania Romanov, the answer is no. She spoke a unique language with her mother, one in which she is still fluent. And by the way, it was not her mother's native language.

The language is Serbian. Tania's mother was Croatian. Her father was Russian. Tania was born in Serbia, but left when she was six months old. She and her brother grew up in San Francisco speaking English. She didn't speak any language until she was two.

Tania doesn't know why she spoke Serbian, rather than Croatian, with her mother Zora. It never occurred to her to ask until she started writing her memoir. And by then, her mother was gone.

The country of birth listed on Tania's American passport changed four times in four successive renewals. Until the first time, she believed your country of birth was a fixed point. Today she knows better.

Go with her as she journeys through time and history looking for answers, and finding some.

About the Author


Tania Romanov Amochaev was born in Belgrade, Serbia of two displaced émigrés--a White Russian father and a Croatian mother--and spent her childhood in San Sabba, a refugee camp in Trieste. After arriving in America on the SS Constitution, Tania attended San Francisco's public schools. She earned a degree in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970, graduating while the school was on strike in protest of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. She then forged a successful business career in technology and was serving on the board of advisors to her College when the formal graduation was finally held. Tania has been the CEO of three technology companies and took the final one to a successful turnaround and IPO. She also earned an MS in Management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and received an honorary PhD from Saint Catherine University. Tania is a founder of the Healdsburg Literary Guild and the educational non-profit Public School Success Team, which mobilizes community volunteers to reduce public high school dropout rates. An award winning photographer, her work helped fund her nonprofit efforts. She has climbed Mount Whitney and Mount Kenya, circumnavigated Annapurna, trekked through Bhutan and Kashmir, and sailed along remote rivers in Burma. In 2013 she landed in Nairobi the day of the terrorist attack and proceeded on a walk across that country from beneath Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean. Tania watched, from afar, the disintegration of the country where her life story began. Those bitter Yugoslav wars of the 1990s put her mother Zora's sisters onto opposing sides of a battle, and not for the first time. Fluent in the languages of her parents, she visits her homelands to study her past. In her book, Mother Tongue, she explores, in a highly personal saga, the causes and consequences of Balkan struggles over the last hundred years. Tania is the author of tales of travel to lands as diverse as Russia, India, Japan and Morocco. She is currently writing a book that starts with her father's flight as an infant from Russia during the Revolution of 1917, follows him through life in Serbia, and to San Francisco's Tsarist Russian community. The essay on her visit to her father's home village in the deep heart of Russia during repressive Communist times was published in Best Travel Writing, Volume 10. Tania resides in San Francisco, using that city as her base for her worldwide travels.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781609521271
ISBN-10: 1609521277
Publisher: Travelers' Tales Guides
Publication Date: March 1st, 2018
Pages: 340
Language: English