Losing the Atmosphere, A Memoir

Written by Vivian Conan⎮ Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Author: Vivian Conan
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 16 hours
Publisher: Author's Republic
Released: Jan. 8, 2021
Genre: Memoir

 

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Synopsis

Born in 1940s Brooklyn to a father prone to rages and an emotionally erratic mother, Vivian Conan grew up in two different worlds: outside and inside. Outside, she had friends, excelled in school, and was close to her cousins and brother. Inside, she saw faces that weren't hers in her bedroom mirror and was surrounded by an invisible atmosphere that bathed her in the love and understanding she craved. Moving between these worlds enabled Vivian to survive her childhood but limited her ability to live fully as an adult. To others, her life seemed rich with work, friends, music, and boyfriends. But her mind and soul were filled with chaos and pain. Neither she nor her therapists could figure out why.

Losing the Atmosphere is Vivian Conan's riveting account of her journey toward self-understanding and wholeness; her encounters with a string of more and less helpful therapists; and her unconventional relationship with the therapist who was finally able to guide her through the courageous, messy work healing required.

Told with honesty, humor, and grace, Losing the Atmosphere is a never-too-late story about the growth possible for anyone with the guts to pursue it, and a testament to the redemptive power of love: not the perfect kind Vivian experienced in her imaginary world, but the imperfect kind that connects us, flawed human being to flawed human being, in the real world she lives in now.

Althea's Review

4 Stars

This audiobook was provided by its author, Karla M. Jay, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Karla!

“One does evil enough when one does nothing good.”

I have to say that you should definitely be prepared for a somewhat heavy historical fiction before going into When We Were Brave. Just like you would expect from a WW2 novel set in Nazi Germany, it showed the hardships that people experienced as well as the precious few moments that were a result of appreciating the precious seconds that were rare and kind of far between during those times.

This was in general just a heartfelt, and long, journey. I have seen people comparing When We Were Brav to The Nightingale and I have to say that I see where they are coming from.

Listening to stories from the point of different jewish people that had different takes on what was happening was interesting to read, as When We Were Brave is comprised of mainly 3 stories. The characters in the first two stories were engaging and easy to get attached to but, to be honest, it started to lose my interest at some parts towards the end.

However, the familial relationships made me fall in love so fast and were so well written (especially with the second story of the mother and son trying to escape the Nazis). It was relatable for me personally and that was the story that really hooked me the most that I just had to drop everything and listen. If you aren’t a character driven person the plot of this is more than enough to keep you engrossed as it is quite intense and emotional.

The themes were absolutely amazing! Which is an aspect that I always expect to be strong with historical fiction novels and I am very happy to say that I was not let down.

It's heartbreaking. It's inspiring. What more could you ask for? I absolutely loved the Karla M. Jay's writing style for the most part and the narrator did a great job of translating that into the audiobook. There weren't any fancy sound effects or music but that did not hinder my enjoyment at all. I actually thought the narration itself was entrancing which suited the story perfectly

All in all, I agree with everyone that this was an amazing historical WW2 fiction and there is no doubt that you are going to love this if the genre comes within your reading taste.

Meet the Author: Vivian Conan

Vivian Conan is a writer, librarian, and IT business analyst who lives in Manhattan. A native New Yorker, she grew up in Brooklyn and holds master’s degrees from Brooklyn College and Pratt Institute. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, New York magazine, Lilith, Narratively, and Ducts.org. She received a 2007 fellowship in Nonfiction Literature from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a 2019 Simon Rockower Award from the American Jewish Press Association. Vivian sings with the Peace of Heart Choir, which performs free for communities in need, and has mentored teenage writers as a volunteer with Girls Write Now. “Losing the Atmosphere” is her first book.

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