Our Dream Was Canada

by Eva Zidek
Trafford Publishing

"In our imagination, Canada was above all a place of vast natural space, of huge forests and lakes... where we hoped to end our long journey."

For citizens of Czechoslovakia, 1968 was a particularly tumultuous year that marked the invasion of the country by 600,000 Warsaw Pact troops. The Soviet Union occupied the country in response to reform efforts. Many citizens fled the country, while others, including Zidek, found themselves in the midst of political problems as a result of tightening censorship initiatives. However, Zidek and her husband, Petr, and their children, Kate and Tom, waited to leave until 1982. This book recounts the many difficulties they had in leaving; they were repeatedly denied entry to Austria, and later, West Germany, by customs officials. After finally arriving in Canada, they faced the additional challenges of learning a new language, adjusting to cultural differences, and finding employment.

Many introspective narratives recount the author's journey to develop a sense of self-identity. This work is pleasantly different because the author already has a resolute sense of self. Instead, this story is about finding a home that resonates with the soul. As a dedicated forestry worker, she wants to raise her family within nature. She has a strong grip on her values, cherishing freedom above all else. While her family was able to cope with the adverse political situation for years, she realized that she did not want to raise her children in such a restrictive environment. When the sociopolitical environment began to interfere with her family's home life, they made the decision to relocate their home.

Although English is Zidek's second language, the book is composed with remarkable fluency. The writing style echoes an understated elegance and Zidek gracefully weaves intriguing details into the larger scope of the narrative. The focus of the content will no doubt strike a chord with any reader who has had to adapt to significant changes in circumstances.

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