A Stranger at My Table by Ivo de Figueiredo

A Stranger at My Table: Searching for a Family's Origins from Colonial India and East Africa to Norway - Deborah Dawkin, Ivo de Figueiredo

This is a memoir of Ivo de Figueiredo's relationship with his father, a biography of his parent's relationship, and a quest for his family's lost history as they migrated from India to Africa to England and finally to Norway.


I fell into this intensely personal story as de Figueiredo traced his family's roots, tying into his own memories whenever possible, and lovingly told their stories. A great deal of effort went into tracking down their homes often located in regions dramatically different from when they lived there. I was touched also by his insistence on finding the burial places, often the only physical trace left behind by his family's migrations, of family members.


The personal nature of this story and its covering so much distance occasionally left me out of the loop, especially as I think de Figueiredo's professional instincts (he is a noted biographer in Norway) made him err on the clinical side of description too often. This is a fascinating book, however, and should be sought out for any interested in the personal stories behind modern history.