New Country, New Life: A Family Memoir

By Chrystyna Zorych Holman

Chrystyna Zorych Holman is a Ukrainian-Canadian immigrant, author, teacher, mother and wife living in Charlottetown, PEI. Through Friesen Press, she has released New Country, New Life: A Family Memoir, now available at the Bookmark and Indigo. 

What is it like to leave behind everything and everyone you’ve ever known amidst terror, trauma, and war, knowing you will never see them again? How must it feel to come to a strange, new land, and have to build a community from scratch? And what, finally, does it mean to pass on this legacy to your children, and theirs?

The engrossing story of Chrystyna Zorych Holman’s family touches on all these questions. As part of the third wave of Ukrainian immigration post-WWII, they came to Canada as refugees. Her parents, both writers and activists, met at a rally for a free and democratic Ukraine—a cause they would champion even after their move to Canada. With their two young children in tow—Chrystyna and her baby sister, Kvitka—they would make the incredible crossing of the Atlantic by boat to start a new life in Manitoba, only narrowly missing the Gulags.

Despite harrowing beginnings, Holman’s story is a tale of love, levity, and the beauty of community. Readers young and old will appreciate the intergenerational story she weaves as her family moves from Manitoba to Toronto to Charlottetown, recounting tales of her mother’s acerbic wit in dealing with her young students, her father’s rebuffs of her potential college beau, or her daughters bonding with her parents through the traditions they brought from home.

“This is a story of friendship, success, community spirit and humorous instances that helped my parent’s generation to live successful lives here in Canada,” says Holman.