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"God help you," her father says, when Ilze Berzins leaves Canada for a new life in Latvia. But the Latvia she discovers in Happy Girl, a book first published in 1997, is rife with corruption, poverty, and decay. She encounters many shocks and disappointments, as well as spectacular beauty, fulfilling work, and lasting friendships. "The result of the author's disillusion is a funny, lively, painful book," wrote reviewer Diana Kiesners. "Berzins, along with a whole expatriate generation, was promised a fairytale Latvia that only needed independence to exist again. The promise is still unfulfilled." In 2012, Ilze Berzins travelled back to Latvia, visited her old haunts and attempted to recapture the giddy excitement she felt when she tried to settle there almost twenty years ago. This new edition of Happy Girl includes an account of this bittersweet homecoming. What she discovers will surprise, challenge and delight you. Will you agree with the reviewer of Happy Girl? Has the promise many "expats" took as a sure thing been fulfilled? Read Ilze Berzins' book and decide for yourself.
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