A 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Silver Winner for Biography
Against the backdrop of World War II, Joy Passanante’s touching new book, Through a Long Absence: Words from My Father’s Wars, is the saga of a wartime medical unit, a passionate long-distance love, the making of a surgeon, and two first-generation American families. Told through her father’s eyes—drawing on hundreds of his letters to his beloved wife, his four-volume wartime diary, and his paintings—Passanante masterfully recreates his wartime journey and physically retraces his steps more than sixty years later in an attempt to understand a time in her parents’ lives that they’d spoken about very little.
More than just a World War II story, Through a Long Absence delves into one man’s past to explore his personal wars: a stint as a child bootlegger, a marriage between newlyweds separated by continents and strained by years apart, and his struggle late in life with his own mind. The narrative propels readers to surprising places—from a freight train through North Africa to an underground St. Louis distillery during Prohibition, from a young couple’s forbidden courtship to the chaos of surgical tents under fire in Normandy, from an underground trove of priceless artwork hidden by the Nazis to Jewish New Year services in Paris a week after its liberation. Through a Long Absence is a love story, an honest look into one man’s life, and a daughter’s moving quest to rediscover her father years later through his own words.