The Patricia Marsden-Dole International Series
6 X 8 inches, 128 pages
This is the record of the author's journey from her birth in Germany to her life in Shanghai, Israel, and beyond. Each place of residence represents a different compartment in a tumultuous life. As the wife of a Canadian diplomat, Tova Clark travelled from Ottawa to Africa, Italy, Washington, Argentina, Spain, and back to Ottawa. Exposure to such a variety of cultures has had a profound effect, making her stronger than ever.
After the break-up of her marriage, Tova Clark felt a need to search for her roots. No longer 'wife-of,' she undertook a process of self-discovery, including recognition of a warm, traditional Jewish family background, with caring, loving parents who nurtured their only child under the most difficult of circumstances.
Compartments represents the life of Tova Clark. It is a search for identity—a quest conducted in several contexts, including religion, culture, and gender. As events unfold, a familiar pattern develops: exile, dispersion, marginality, dependence, subservience, assertion, and independence. The Jewish people and a Jewish woman. Where does one end and the other begin?
"An interesting life makes an interesting read, and Clark has had a very interesting life."
— Ottawa Jewish Bulletin
Born to a Jewish family in Nazi Germany in 1939, her story beings with a dramatic escape to Japanese-controlled Shanghai, one of the few refuges still open. There, a variety of European Jews struggled to restart life in the Honkew district, establishing workshops and supporting a little school for their children. At the age of ten, Tova moved with her parents to Israel. After serving in the Israeli army, she went to work in England where she met and married a Canadian who entered the Foreign Service. After a series of postings in Ghana, Italy, Washington, Argentina, and Spain, and after raising three children, Tova returned to Canada to study at Carleton University.