“If I Could Paint the Moon Black is a gripping and illuminating story from the first page, when Soviet cattle cars roll into Vaivara, a town in Estonia without cows. It is a story of childhood, but no ordinary childhood, a nine-year-old and her mother caught in the nowhere land between Hitler and Stalin. It is a childhood under occupation, a childhood in hiding and ultimately in flight to freedom. Imbi Peebo Truumees seems to have remembered everything, and Nancy Burke had the great sense to recognize a great storyteller and a great story the moment she encountered them. Burke has translated memory into memoir, giving it an unforgettable shape and form…”
Dr. James Goodman
What a wonderful review and what an exciting event! This evening, we celebrated the publication of my dear friend and writing buddy Nancy Burke’s beautiful book, If I Could Paint the Moon Black, at a festive book party hosted by the warm and wonderful Watchung Booksellers. With members of our writing critique group proudly looking on, Nancy and Imbi described their collaboration and the deep satisfaction that writing the book together gave them both.
For Imbi, who is now in her 80s, it was a chance to revisit her war-torn childhood and share her story of survival and triumph with both her family and the world. And for Nancy, helping Imbi tell her story offered the opportunity to shape a first-person account from a child’s point of view using the techniques of narrative fiction. The result is a memoir that reads like a novel — what a wonderful achievement!
As Imbi says so well, “This gives a small overview of the Second World War: You will see how people are struggling for freedom. We are so blessed in this country and we refugees really treasure the freedom we have here.” Nancy echoed Imbi’s hope for the book: “All over the world, people just want to live, to be free, and to enjoy their lives. I want people to relish their freedom, but to understand the impact war has on ordinary people.”
Having read some of the chapters in our critique group and seen them taking shape, it was exciting and gratifying to hold a copy of the newly minted book in my hands. Once again, I am reminded what a treasure a book is: Between its covers we enter hearts, minds, and worlds — not as strangers, but as voyagers.
To find out more about If I could Paint the World Black, visit: lakeshorepressbooks.com. Bravo, Imbi! Bravo, Nancy — write on!