NPR

'All Ships Follow Me' Rustles Up Questions About The Privilege To Be Heard

Mieke Eerkens has written an engrossing memoir on the interesting, even inspiring, stories of her parents after WWII. Yet despite its careful questioning and analysis, it's an uncomfortable read.
All Ships Follow Me, by Mieke Eerkens Source: Beth Novey

The existence of All Ships Follow Me presents a series of problems.

The book itself is unimpeachably competent; Mieke Eerkens has an impressive pedigree as a writer, and this engrossing debut memoir proves out her training, as well as the years of sustained effort she must have undertaken to write it. However, the sheer fact of the book rustles up troubling questions about memory, vengeance, oppression, and the privilege to be heard.

Whole libraries of literature, entire museums, are devoted to the memories of those who died in the Holocaust, and those who fought on behalf of the Allies. However, Eerkens's parents — the subjects of her memoir — suffered ambiguously compared to these clear-cut horrors. Her father, Jeff, was the child of

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from NPR

NPR3 min readPolitics
Crew Of Norwegian-Owned Oil Tanker Arrives In Dubai After 'Hostile Attack'
The 10-member crew of Front Altair reached Dubai two days after explosions rocked two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Backed by video evidence, the U.S. is blaming Iran.
NPR2 min read
Pass The Brazier: Early Evidence Of Cannabis Smoking Found On Chinese Artifacts
Humans have been smoking pot to get high since the first millennium B.C. Archaeologists have found early evidence of cannabis use from wooden bowls exhumed from ancient tombs in western China.
NPR3 min readPolitics
Hong Kong Executive Apologizes As Protests Continue Over Extradition Bill
Chief Executive Carrie Lam says her management of an extradition bill caused "disputes in society." Protesters say they want the bill scrapped and Lam to step down.