Daughter of Here

Ioana Georgescu

Katia Grubisic

September 2020

Daughter of Here is an experiment in memory, desire, and time. As she sifts through her international whirlwind romance with Célestin, her larger-than-life love for her daughter Mo, and her own childhood behind the Iron Curtain, Dolores’s narrative shifts from Williamsburg to Tokyo, to Bucharest before and after the fall, and to Cairo at the first spark of the Arab Spring.

Filmic and thought-provoking, Daughter of Here straddles the political and the personal with ease.


IOANA GEORGESCU is an artist and novelist. Her performance art, video installations, photographs, painting, and drawing have been presented around the world. She is the author of three novels, Évanouissement à Shinjuku (2005), L’homme d’Asmara (2010) and La Jetée: Elle s’appellera Mo (2013), published by Les Éditions Marchand de feuilles. Georgescu holds a PhD in Comparative Literature, and has taught in the Italian and English (Cultural Studies) departments at McGill University. Born in Bucharest, she lives in Montreal.

KATIA GRUBISIC is a writer, editor, and translator. She was coordinator of the Atwater Poetry Project reading series, and was a founding member of the editorial board for the Icehouse Poetry imprint at Goose Lane Editions. Her own work has appeared in various Canadian and international publications. She has been a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for translation, and her collection of poems What if red ran out won the Gerald Lampert award for best first book. Her translation of A Cemetery for Bees was a finalist for the Governor General Literary Awards in 2021.

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Format: Trade paper

Size: 8 x 5 in.

Pages: 236

What they say
"moving towards beauty"
VĂ©ronique Darwin, Event Magazine

The 2013 novel La jetée, elle s’appellera Mo by Montreal writer Ioana Georgescu was translated from the French, by Katia Grubisic, in 2020. While this novel has no claim to autofiction, it also uses detail (in this case lush and sensorial, rather than humorous and cutting) and a present-tense immediacy to jump in time and place, mimicking the texture of a life recalled. Without Sissi’s fervent energy and clear project of self-discovery, Dolores weaves together far more than her own experiences. She is a collector, a dreamer, remembering to pass the time.

Georgescu is inspired by the French 1962 experimental film La jetée by Chris Marker, in which still images and an offscreen narrator recount a futuristic memory experiment. ‘The man,’ otherwise undefined, has his eyes covered and is forced by scientists to remember potential past memories. Without concern for chronology, Dolores also presents the past in images: a bar in Tokyo during an earthquake; the confluence of the White and Blue Nile where she met her partner Célestin; and her childhood escape and adolescent return to Bucharest behind the Iron Curtain. Perhaps more like the scientists than ‘The Man,’ Dolores is a filmmaker. She employs history and other people’s stories artfully to fill out her own. Unlike Sissi, Dolores does so for an audience. While Dolores stands at the window in an apartment in Cairo, her young daughter Mo, addressed in the second-person ‘you,’ zips around on her scooter or draws the scenes described. As readers, we feel soothed, peering with Mo over Dolores’s shoulder through the window of her story.
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April 2022, Event Magazine

"alive and inventive"
Richard King, CBC

I raved about Daughter of Here by Ioana Georgescu. Each chapter of this wonderfully written novel is a stand-alone vignette, which also ties into the larger story. The author proves that fiction writing is alive and in inventive hands.
August 2020, CBC Let's Go

X: You Are Here
All Lit Up

Ioana Georgescu writes about writing Daughter of Here.

I am here: Montreal

I am writing these lines while surfing a new big wave that splashes us with grenade-looking microorganisms. In snowy Montreal, I cannot bike anymore. I miss the Canal Lachine. I cannot swim either. Pools are closed. I like to move. I like to travel. My first novel Évanouissement à Shinjuku appeared in front of my eyes on my bike, the second, L’homme d’Asmara in the blue water of a swimming pool. I kept following the images that I saw during my laps and rushed home to write. Like a dream catcher. Now I take walks on the Mont-Royal instead. And I continue to write in my head.

Borders are shut. Bodies are immobilized, isolated. Static. Regimented. There are cues and shortages. Déjà vu. Pandemics and dictatorships attack the bodies. Once Upon a Time in the East. I come from there. I come from here.

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January 2021, All Lit Up

Tales of Tahrir
Bronwyn Averett, Montreal Review of Books

The first novel by Ioana Georgescu to be translated into English, Daughter of Here spans decades and continents with a graceful ease. Anchored in time by the events of Tahrir Square in 2011, the narration moves fluidly through time, while being propelled toward this revolutionary moment. As Dolores and her daughter, Mo, await the arrival of Mo’s father Célestin, a war photographer, she writes down bits and pieces of her past, as well as the sights and sounds that they are witnessing from their apartment, located near the infamous square.

...In this impressive translation by writer and translator Katia Grubisic, the prose comes through with clarity, lean and straightforward. Dolores embraces the wandering poetry of the everyday, but in a rhythm that drives ever forward: “The bawaab and his family live above me, and leaks from the caretaker’s home have stained the ceiling. It looks like an old map, separating two worlds superimposed.” 

At times, the novel recalls Elena Ferrante, especially when its narrator delves into intellectual intimacy, exposing thoughts, fears, and triumphs with careful ease. She has a similar way of drifting seamlessly between childhood, memories of past loves, and aching tenderness for her daughter. Yet other moments recall the dizzying country-hopping cosmopolitanism of Mavis Gallant’s short stories, particularly in Georgescu’s keen eye for character. Much space is devoted to the quirks of artist friends and chance encounters with locals.

Dolores has a way of being embraced with ease by everyone, while also keeping the distance required for observation. This paradoxical state is, of course, the mark of an artist. It is also what lends the book its title. Dolores is a daughter of everywhere she goes, at once American and Romanian, Egyptian and Japanese. She finds footing in the multilingual, multinational conversations that fill her memories. But her multilayered identity is also a reminder of the many lives that are possible over the span of a lifetime, and over the course of generations. As Dolores reflects: “I am the daughter of the woman in the window; I am the girl and the woman on the jetty, who loved the sea, and who loved to fly and to dream.”

Read the full review here.
November 2020, Montreal Review of Books

Unique aura
James Fisher, Miramichi Reader

Ionana Georgescu’s debut novel, Daughter of Here, was a cinema lover’s delight to read...The theatrical sweeping open of the window curtains signals the show is about to begin and this reader’s anticipation was at its highest. It is through this apartment window (which is “five minutes from Tahrir Square”) that Dolores and her little daughter Mo behold life in Cairo, and in a series of flashbacks, we see how Dolores finds herself here in this ancient Egyptian city after so many years of global living.

...An agreeable novel to read, it was Daughter of Here’s detached, contemplative pacing that really drew me in. Nothing is rushed in Dolores’ world, or in Ms. Georgescu’s writing, as wonderfully translated by Katia Grubisic. The novel is full of cinema-related references, primarily to that of Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée. (The filmmaker even makes a cameo appearance in the book) It all adds to a unique aura of a documentary-type film composed of still images as was La Jetée.

Montreal’s Linda Leith Publishing continues its extraordinary custom of producing fine-quality literary fiction with Daughter of Here. Recommended.
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October 2020, The Miramichi Reader


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