How long does the exile last? : BOOK I: The Song and Dance Festival of Free Latvians

First book in an epic trilogy – The standout author writes a well-written memoir centering on the Latvian people who suffered during and around World War II.

“Tomorrow, I will be totally Latvian. Tomorrow I will eat sauerkraut and sausages, but tonight… tonight…”

— excerpt from How Long Does Exile Last? by Astrida Barbins-Stahnke

TUCSON, ARIZONA, USA, March 4, 2022 / — Noteworthy author Astrida Barbins-Stahnke, based on the meditative and reflective life
fiction, How Long Is Exile?: Book I: the Song and Dance Festival of Free Latvians probes deeply
in the psyche of the main character and also other characters who travel with her. To leave
we discover the lasting impact of the war and how it branches out and continues on the third and fourth
generations through the main character, thoughts and actions of Milda.

How long does the exile last? : Book 1: The song and dance festival of the free Latvians, with its flashbacks,
introspections, nostalgic memories and melancholy take place at the festival with Milda, the main
character, coming to the song festival to find a new, freer me after years of grieving for her
deceased husband Kārlis Arājs. In nostalgic flashbacks, Milda recalls her childhood before and after
The Second World War, her years as a refugee in Germany, the education of her husband and children in Ilga
and Gatis in a rapidly changing and confusing United States in the 1960s and 1970s.
the progressive opening of his native country and the possible reunification with his sister Zelda, who had
survived five long years in a Siberian gulag, caused him even more frustration and guilt.

Astrida Barbins-Stahnke was born on March 15, 1935 in Priekule, Latvia to Reverend Juris and
Milda Barbins, the fourth of six children. His father was a minister of the Priekule Baptist Church,
which he served for thirteen years. In 1939, needing more land for his growing family, he moved
to a fourteen-hectare agricultural land called Mazgramzda, which, after an agrarian reform law, had been
divided the property of a Baltic German. The passage from the city to the countryside was difficult,
especially for their mother who was born in Liepaja and graduated from the University of Riga, whom Astrida greatly
admired. With the exception of his father, his family missed their big house in Priekule and the culture
the very life of a small town.

It is not necessary to continue the biographical note because the general course of their family and
the people of their country are portrayed in this novel. And this is a novel, not a memoir. The weather
and the settings are fairly accurate, but the characters and events are fictional, albeit rooted in reality
historical events, people and impressions as seen and experienced through everyone’s life
character. Any resemblance to real people and situations as described is coincidental.

How long does the exile last? : Book I: Song and Dance Festival of Free Latvians
Written by: Astrida Barbins-Stahnke
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