When We Return:
by Eliana Tobias
About When We Return
Who should be held responsible for public wrongs?
By 2008, it finally seems that the Peruvian government is ready to make amends to its citizens following the violent guerilla movement of the last three decades.
Otilia and Salvador, a mother and son torn apart during the conflict and separated for twenty years, are eager for the government to acknowledge he their pain and suffering, but they hit a roadblock when the government denies responsibility in their legal case.
Things begin to look up when Otilia meets Jerry, a kind man and the son of Jewish parents who escaped the Holocaust. Grappling with his own upbringing and the psychological struggles his parents endured, Jerry is just the person to empathize with Otilia's situation. Together, Otilia, Jerry, and Salvador must support one another through the turbulent journey that is healing from historical trauma, and through it, they must find the courage to rebuild their lives and open themselves up to love and companionship.
Artfully weaving together different timelines and countries, Tobias examines the nuanced topic of grief a community endures after a collective tragedy. In this exploration of the culture of remembrance following displacement and loss, we discover what happens when our past calls us back to what we must do to achieve justice and reconciliation when we return.
“Eliana Tobias has managed in this moving and intelligent novel to show us two characters who, coming from very different worlds, at the end are telling the same story. The story of disarray, discrimination, and injustice. Showing us as well that hate is everywhere and the only antidote we have is memory and love.” —Carla Guelfenbein, Alfaguara-award winner and internationally recognized author of eight novels including In the Distance With You
About Eliana Tobias
Eliana Tobias was born in Santiago, Chile, to immigrant parents who had escaped the Holocaust. She graduated from the University of Chile and later completed graduate degrees in the US and Canada. After working in the field of education in various capacities, including teaching at the National University in Trujillo, Peru, she discovered her love of writing.
Eliana’s rich experience of political turmoil—listening to stories of the Holocaust when Jewish communities in Europe had been shattered, losing family in Chile under military dictatorship, and living in Peru during a time of intense civil conflict—fueled her passion to write about the ways people caught in devastation find to rebuild their lives. Eliana’s first novel, In the Belly of the Horse, received an award from the International Latino Book Awards in 2018 and was also nominated for the Latino Book Into Movies Awards. Eliana splits her time between California and British Columbia.