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y separately published work icon Boy, Lost : A Family Memoir single work   biography  
Issue Details: First known date: 2013... 2013 Boy, Lost : A Family Memoir
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Kristina Olsson's mother lost her infant son, Peter, when he was snatched from her arms as she boarded a train in the hot summer of 1950. She was young and frightened, trying to escape a brutal marriage, but despite the violence and cruelty she'd endured, she was not prepared for this final blow, this breathtaking punishment. Yvonne would not see her son again for nearly 40 years.

'Kristina was the first child of her mother's subsequent, much gentler marriage and, like her siblings, grew up unaware of the reasons behind her mother's sorrow, though Peter's absence resounded through the family, marking each one. Yvonne dreamt of her son by day and by night, while Peter grew up a thousand miles and a lifetime away, dreaming of his missing mother.

'Boy, Lost tells how their lives proceeded from that shattering moment, the grief and shame that stalked them, what they lost and what they salvaged. But it is also the story of a family, the cascade of grief and guilt through generations, and the endurance of memory and faith.' (Publisher's blurb)

Notes

  • Dedication:
    For my mother and Peter
    For my father and Sharon
    For Lennart, Ashley and Andrew

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

‘To Unearth the Layers of Forgetting’ : Reading Boy, Lost as a Postmemoir Cheryl O'Byrne , 2021 single work criticism
— Appears in: Life Writing , vol. 18 no. 2 2021; (p. 181-193)

'This article reads Kristina Olsson’s Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir (2013, St Lucia: University of Queensland Press.) as a postmemorial text. The memoir centres on the moment, six years before Olsson was born, when a thirteen-month-old baby was abducted from Olsson’s mother’s arms. The article relies on Marianne Hirsch’s (2012, The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust. New York: Columbia University Press. ProQuest.) theory of postmemory to examine the way the memoir is motivated both by the confusion Olsson feels about the way her own life was shaped by this hidden, traumatic past and by the responsibility she feels to write towards a sense of justice for her mother. The article dwells on the ethical concerns that arise at the point of tension between the writer’s desire for recovery and the mother’s silences, and it examines the aesthetic strategies Olsson employs to negotiate this tension. The article also draws on Meera Atkinson’s (2017, The Poetics of Transgenerational Trauma. New York: Bloomsbury. ProQuest.) work to discuss the way Olsson situates her family’s trauma within the context of the cultural and social factors that precipitated it. The article argues that Boy, Lost offers a methodology for an ethical postmemorial project through the way it balances Olsson’s story with her mother’s and with the country’s.' (Publication abstract)

Invisible Histories : Excavating the Buried Past Kristina Olsson , 2020 single work essay
— Appears in: Griffith Review , no. 70 2020; (p. 21-32)

'IMAGINE YOURSELF A bird, huge, flying out of time through a smoky sky, back, back through millennia. Further than your own memory, deeper than your instinct: about 226 million years. Gondwana floats, massive, around the polar south. Umbilical. The shape of Australia, the place that will one day be your home, is still lost, a speck in the supercontinent, just recognisable from above if you know what you’re looking for. Still, you beat through temperate air; from your high currents you can make out great mountains and gouged valleys, the shapes of trees, small plants – delicate, lacy – and horsetails, mosses. Tree ferns, woody conifers, seed-bearing ginkgos. And there, between swamp and mountain, early dinosaurs – therapods. Young, toothless.' (Publication summary)

‘First the Misery, Then the Trauma’ : The Australian Trauma Memoir Donna Lee Brien , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , no. 42 2017;

'This article focuses on the trauma memoir as an identifiable type of creative writing. It begins by tracing its popularity, especially in the 1990s, in the process recognising what can be proposed as key works internationally, many of which—but not all—are American, as well as how these texts were received by critics and readers, in order to place the Australian trauma memoir in this broader context. The so-called ‘misery memoir’ is also discussed. As little investigation has focused on the Australian trauma memoir as a form of memoir, this article will profile some (mostly recent) examples of Australian trauma memoir in order to begin to investigate what these texts contribute to our understanding of the trauma memoir as a form of creative writing. This recognises debates over the literary and social value of memoirs.'  (Publication abstract)

On Writing Boy, Lost Kristina Olsson , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 75 no. 2 2016; (p. 55-70)
'Boy, Lost was the book that was never going to be written. Was nearly not written. The following account is partly an answer to my own question: why not? And its echo: then why was it? It is also an attempt to understand one of the central and most vexed questions not just of this book but of the writing of memoir, a genre grounded in claims to knowledge and memory, in assumptions about the nature of 'truth'. (Introduction 55)
The Two of Us : Christina Olsson & Peter Preneas Susan Wyndham , 2015 single work interview
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 28 February 2015; (p. 6)
'Website designer Peter Preneas, 66, was a baby when he was snatched by his father as his pregnant mother boarded a train in Cairns in 1950; they were finally reunited in Brisbane in 1985, when he was 35. His half-sister, author Kristina Olsson, 58, tells their story in the 2013 memoir Boy, Lost.'
A Mother's Grief for a Lost Childhood Agnes Nieuwenhuizen , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 13-14 April 2013; (p. 20-21)

— Review of Boy, Lost : A Family Memoir Kristina Olsson , 2013 single work biography
Well Read Katharine England , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 11 May 2013; (p. 32)

— Review of Too Afraid to Cry Ali Cobby Eckermann , 2013 selected work autobiography ; Boy, Lost : A Family Memoir Kristina Olsson , 2013 single work biography
Missing Childhood Gillian Dooley , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , July-August no. 353 2013;

— Review of Boy, Lost : A Family Memoir Kristina Olsson , 2013 single work biography
We Are Our Stories : Australian Reading Experiences in 2013 Donna Hancox , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Conversation , 20 December 2013;

— Review of A Country Too Far : Writings on Asylum Seekers 2013 anthology autobiography biography poetry short story essay ; Boy, Lost : A Family Memoir Kristina Olsson , 2013 single work biography
Australian Literature and Summer - Books That Sizzle Stephanie Green , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Conversation , 14 January 2014;

— Review of The Fortunes of Richard Mahony Henry Handel Richardson , 1917 single work novel ; The Swan Book Alexis Wright , 2013 single work novel ; Eyrie Tim Winton , 2013 single work novel ; Boy, Lost : A Family Memoir Kristina Olsson , 2013 single work biography ; Barracuda Christos Tsiolkas , 2013 single work novel
Inherit a Path to Pain Fran Metcalf , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 6 April 2013; (p. 19)
'A family memoir of repeated loss reveals a broader social history...'
Winning Words Fran Metcalf , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 27-28 July 2013; (p. 4-5)
Olsson Lands Kibble Award for Tale of Stolen Brother Susan Wyndham , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 24 July 2014; (p. 33)
The Two of Us : Christina Olsson & Peter Preneas Susan Wyndham , 2015 single work interview
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 28 February 2015; (p. 6)
'Website designer Peter Preneas, 66, was a baby when he was snatched by his father as his pregnant mother boarded a train in Cairns in 1950; they were finally reunited in Brisbane in 1985, when he was 35. His half-sister, author Kristina Olsson, 58, tells their story in the 2013 memoir Boy, Lost.'
On Writing Boy, Lost Kristina Olsson , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 75 no. 2 2016; (p. 55-70)
'Boy, Lost was the book that was never going to be written. Was nearly not written. The following account is partly an answer to my own question: why not? And its echo: then why was it? It is also an attempt to understand one of the central and most vexed questions not just of this book but of the writing of memoir, a genre grounded in claims to knowledge and memory, in assumptions about the nature of 'truth'. (Introduction 55)
Last amended 23 Mar 2021 10:39:48
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