Ilze Bērziņš has just re-released her debut book Happy Girl, a memoir of her time spent in Latvia in the 1990s.
A Canadian-Latvian, Bērziņš is the author of 15 books written over the past 17 years, that have been enjoyed by both North American and Latvian readers worldwide. Bērziņš, also an artist who studied at the Sorbonne, published Happy Girl in 1997. This was followed by a number of other books, mainly murder-mysteries, some Latvian-themed, others set in Canada.
Bērziņš herself comments on her genre: “I often think of my books as part travel story, part humour and part plot with mystery with a dash of romance.”
Bērziņš’ own summary of this new release reads:
‘“God help you,” her father says, when Ilze Berzins leaves Canada for a new life in Latvia. But the Latvia she discovers in Happy Girl, a book first published in 1997, is rife with corruption, poverty, and decay. She encounters many shocks and disappointments, as well as spectacular beauty, fulfilling work, and lasting friendships.
“The result of the author’s disillusion is a funny, lively, painful book,” wrote reviewer Diana Kiesners. “Berzins, along with a whole expatriate generation, was promised a fairytale Latvia that only needed independence to exist again. The promise is still unfulfilled.”
In 2012, Ilze Berzins travelled back to Latvia, visited her old haunts and attempted to recapture the giddy excitement she felt when she tried to settle there almost twenty years ago. This new edition of Happy Girl includes an account of this bittersweet homecoming. What she discovers will surprise, challenge and delight you. Will you agree with the reviewer of Happy Girl? Has the promise many “expats” took as a sure thing been fulfilled’
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