Splithead by Julya Rabinowich


Julya Rabinowich

Demonstrating the schizophrenia migrant children often experience in their lives, this book itself has a split-personality. Told by Mischka and by the invented folklore character, Splithead, it is both part coming of age, part disturbing fairy tale. The time shifts and unusual, repeating refrains were sometimes difficult to follow, but it's certainly an interesting, unusual glimpse into a family torn between East and West.


From a distance, Grandmother Ada and my parents look with suspicion on my reconnaissance missions into the strange world. Ideally they would disinfect me each time I return to the apartment like a cosmonaut come back to earth. My insistence on a jean jacket with an E.T. decal horrifies them. I am twelve and look fifteen. My father, actually open and liberal, regresses to staunchest patriarchy. My budding femininity is destroying his illusion of a much-desired male heir, a role I had, until then, been able to fill.

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