Review – Out of Latvia
Peter McAra has been my mentor. A successful writer of many books, including his best seller, ‘The Vintner’s Letters,’ had this to say about Out of Latvia.
“As only a first-person account can, this true story shines with the full rainbow spectrum of a young Australian man’s emotions as he fulfils a childhood dream to visit the Latvia of his father’s origins.
At age twenty seven, Peter Jirgens sets out on his mission from his home on the NSW South Coast, never dreaming of the dangers, the evils of Soviet politics, the unforeseeable dramas, that will dog him through much of his journey. We ride minute-by-minute with Peter, from his happy schooldays to the darkness of Soviet Russia. From his early adult years in the Shoalhaven, to his being stalked by the KGB. Word by word, he communicates his never-to-be-slaked thirst to experience the Latvia created in his young mind by the bedtime stories his father told him throughout his childhood.
As I read, the message burnt into my consciousness is that when Peter Jirgens sets his mind on a goal, pretty much nothing will stop him. That includes a colourful range of experiences, from occasional nasty moments in his primary school years to tangles with Russian police. Sure, Peter enjoyed pleasant moments in touristy precincts of countries like Germany and the UK, but the glow of this story comes from the graphic revelations (fluently captured by writer David Kerr) of his minute-by-minute experiences on this saga of a journey.”