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The American

Rapeseed (Gobreau Press) ISBN trade paperback: 978-0-9887084-0-2 ebook: 978-09887084-1-9

when he can’t join us, he tries his best to explain the weird English stuff we encounter – like my first Bonfire Night, little boy on my hip, as fireworks exploded immediately overhead. Every time a flaming torch-whirl came screaming toward the crowd that night, I could easily pick out the other Americans, ducking and covering, the word “lawsuit” hovering thick as the smoke in the air. That was terrifying, that lack of crowd control - that lack of control, period - but it was wonderful. My son’s name is Jack, but I whispered in his ear: “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” And now we’re not in England anymore either. In my own life, I’ve moved on and moved back and moved on many times – both in the US and abroad. And with every move, there’s a new layer of intrigue and adventure introduced, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle at all. Perhaps there really will be no official ‘settling in’. Just as there are varying levels of fluency with a foreign language, all of which we call ‘getting by’. In Switzerland,

where I live now, I can get by’ in French. If I’m with a group of people who speak not a word of French, well, I’m fluent. But no matter how long an expat stays in a place, their friends move on and others move in, and everything changes around them. It happens in business, in banking, in every sector we know... faster and more broadly than anyone expected. Imagine this: I have three separate friends who lived for a time in a remote jungle in Irian Jaya. And they weren’t there together, nor with the same organizations. The first time I went abroad to an island in Micronesia at 13, I had no idea how many people might be embracing similar and much more exotic adventures, all the time. But I suppose that’s the point. We are all made stronger and more whole by taking a step sideways and seeing where we just came from, who’s coming with us, and who’s staying home to hold down the fort. As we accept that call to adventure, maybe we ultimately settle into ourselves.

Nancy Freund is a poet and novelist who was born in New York, raised in Kansas City, and educated in Los Angeles. Later she moved to Esher, Surrey, and now lives in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is the author of the novel Rapeseed (Gobreau Press), a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year finalist. Rapeseed features Carolann, an expat from Kansas who has synesthesia. She sees letters, numbers and memories in colors, experiences powerful feelings of isolation and constantly feels different to ‘normal people’. She also has a whole bunch of dark secrets in her past. When she relocates with her family to England, the cracks open in her complicated history and begin to expose her secrets. The book was inspired by the author’s own experiences of synesthesia and expatriate life. The title refers to the bright yellow flower of the rapeseed plant, cultivated for its oil-rich seed, and emphasises the idea that not everything in life is black-andwhite. Freund’s short story ‘Marcus’ won the First Geneva Fiction Prize last June.

September 2014 25

The American September 2014 Issue 736  

The American has been published for Americans in Britain since 1976. It's also for Brits who like American culture.

The American September 2014 Issue 736  

The American has been published for Americans in Britain since 1976. It's also for Brits who like American culture.

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