memoir / public and politics / research

Opa Nobody

Huber final cover

Opa Nobody, University of Nebraska Press, American Lives Series, 2008

ISBN: 0803243626

Hardcover: $24.95

Paperback: $18.95

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“[S]harp human insights on the omnipresent moral complications of living in Nazi Germany make this a worthwhile read. . . . [A] unique, imaginative take on the family memoir.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Grounded in extensive research and enriched by family anecdotes. . . . The result is thoughtful discourse on political activism and the toll exacted from those dedicated to unpopular causes.”—Deborah Donovan, Booklist
“In her first book, teacher and activist Huber reaches across time and space to find guidance and camaraderie in the reconstructed life of Heina Buschmann, the German grandfather she never met. . . . Family relationships and political situations are wrought finely enough to illustrate what’s at stake for Heina.”—Publishers Weekly
“In every chapter, [Huber] weaves stories of her activist life with richly imagined scenes of her grandfather, reconstructing his life from anecdotes and documentary evidence. . . . By connecting with history on such a personal level, she reveals how ordinary citizens can get swept up into movements of all kinds; allegiance is never as simple as a membership card. Most radically of all for a progressive activist, Huber embraces the past. Instead of tossing it all out in search of something new, she ties a firm knot between then and now.”—Karrie Higgins, Los Angeles Times
“Writing family history is a notoriously fraught enterprise. . . . Sonya Huber’s book of creative nonfiction, Opa Nobody, tracks an innovative course through this thorny landscape. . . . [I]t is precisely Huber’s play with the imaginative possibilities in the gaps between historical fact and family memory that makes her project so poetic and moving. . . . Through her admirably candid writing, Huber makes visible the inability of political activism to manage failure and despair.”—Valerie Weaver-Zercher, The Christian Century
Opa Nobody is good, folks. . . . Fiction and nonfiction flow together so easily under Huber’s control that it looks easy to accomplish. . . . Opa Nobody is a masterful book and a testament to the talent of its author. After reading this, there will be many people impatient for Sonya Huber’s next work. I am.”—Connect Statesboro
“There’s plenty to learn from [Opa Nobody’s] accessible and accurate portrayal of a leftist German family before and during World War II. Its evocation of the sense of revolutionary possibility and political tumult is especially effective. . . . It reminds us that now more than ever, we need political histories that feed both our politics and our hearts.”—Chloe Tribich, Against the Current (Detroit)

Opa Nobody is a masterful layering of lives, a beautifully readable and often poetic tracing of the heart lines between grandfather and granddaughter, old leftie and new, Nazi-era German rabble-rouser and present-day American activist. Sonya Huber imagines her way into her hero’s childhood, his neighborhoods, his friendships, and finally into his passions—both political and romantic—which in the end are her own. The research in Opa Nobody is prodigious, the history fascinating, the quest for justice inspiring, but the lives here are what will keep you reading, page after page, long into the clamorous night.”—Bill Roorbach, author of Temple Stream and Big Bend

“Sonya Huber is a writer of remarkable talent and courage. With great passion and skill, she resurrects her grandfather in this story of a family in the years leading up to and away from Hitler’s Third Reich. Painstakingly researched and richly imagined, Opa Nobody is a brave book of politics, history, and love—a book filled with an irrepressible embrace of humanity.”—Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever and From Our House

“Sonya Huber begins her innovative memoir with a question: ‘Why try to change the world?’ Thus begins an intimate dialogue with her long-dead, activist grandfather—part fact, part imagination—that delves into the nature of political resistance and the toll this stance takes on those intrepid souls who dare to live on the edge of change.”—Brenda Miller, author of Season of the Body and coauthor of Tell It Slant

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