• Mother Tongue

  • A Saga of Three Generations of Balkan Women
  • By: Tania Romanov
  • Narrated by: Becky Parker
  • Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

What is your mother tongue? Sometimes the simplest questions take a book to answer.

Such is the case with Tania Romanov's story of exile, emigration and immigration and how native language can be a powerful touchstone for the sense of home. The unrelenting consequences of 100 years of Balkan wars force three generations of Croatian women - Katarina, Zora, and Tania - to flee their homelands multiple times.

Family including Russian emigrants are driven out from Yugoslavia as refugees to live in a refugee camp in Italy, speaking Russian and the Serbo-Croatian language.

Eventually, Tania, a successfully integrated American immigrant from Eastern Europe, journeys back to her fractured homeland with her mother to unravel the secrets of their shared past.

Mother Tongue is an exploration of lives lived in the chaos of the Balkans. It follows countries such as Yugoslavia and Serbia, that dissolved, formed, and reformed. Lands that were conquered and subjugated by Fascists and Nazis and nationalists. Lives lived in exile, in refugee camps, in new worlds.

©2018 Tania Romanov Amochaev (P)2018 Tania Romanov Amochaev

What listeners say about Mother Tongue

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Ljiljana Popovic, born in former Yugoslavia

Dear Tania,

Thank you for writing this beautiful, and captivating story. The historic facts are true and the life of your predecessors is very similar to the life of my parents. While I was listening to the Mother Tongue, I felt connected to your mother:Zora, Zorica.
I am very touched and grateful.

1 person found this helpful

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Intergenerational story of Mothers and Daughters

I was drawn to this memoir because I also have a Croatian mother and have explored her history.
Instantly, Tania Romanov drew me into her inter-generational memoir a complicated history of her family that spans wars, Istria, occupations, Italy, the former Yugoslavia, Croatia, and America. It taught me so much! I laughed, and cried, and grew very attached to her mother, and grandmother as they continued to improvise lives as best as they could. I especially appreciated the way Romanov unravels the complexity of a multi-ethnic identity. This book kept me company through part of the pandemic and I was sad when it ended.

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great story, performance is rough on native ears

Very well written story about a rather complicated history of a small country. However, The narrator should have worked with a native speaker. The pronunciation of serbo-croatian words was rather rough on the ears. As a native speaker myself I struggled listening to it. The author as well used some improper native phrasing. All this aside I would recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book

I liked this book a lot. The exploration of the history of Balcans through such an engaging and lovely personal story was facinating for me.