How did it happen that a middle-class Jewish-American teenager found herself living among the French in post-war Paris? The answer to that question also explains why Deena Stryker went on to live and work in several other countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain, becoming multi-lingual, writing first about the cinema, then about 'the big picture', while raising two children mostly on her own. A religious grand-mother and a hedonistic lover accompany her on a journey which is both personal and political, and is illustrated by several dozen photographs from her personal album. In Rome, Deena Stryker (then Deena Boyer) enters the world of journalism through a large back door, but while investigating the Cuban revolution she realizes the corporation she joined is beholden to power, and sets herself apart. With a judicious use of diaries, letters and excerpts from previous works, Lunch with Fellini, Diner with Fidel traces the author's evolution from agnostic child and right-brain, sensual woman to a left-brain original thinker who foresees the reunification of Europe and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in writing but almost fails to find a publisher. Her riveting story spans the period from the 1930's to today, seeking to open American minds to the way the United States has been viewed by other nations since the end of WW II, and to suggest how we could navigate the new political realities. Deena Stryker is not afraid to showcase works by other thinkers who helped her recognize the similarities between ancient wisdom and the new sciences, and their relevance to the challenges of climate change and conflict. Her insights into nationalism from a multi-cultural perspective sheds light on the current European crisis, and her views on the role of politics dovetails with the rise of the worldwide Occupy movement. This multi-faceted work does not try to embellish an extraordinary story; nor does it indulge in pathos, but leavens challenging experiences with a dose of humor. It will interest political activists, single mothers, educators, roots seekers, ecologists, and anyone curious about life behind the Iron Curtain, as the West tries to come to terms with other unfamiliar cultures and beliefs.
Deena gives an overview of the book:
Born in Philadelphia, I spent most of my adolescent and adult life in other countries, including France, Italy, Holland, Cuba, Poland and Hungary. I worked as a journalist for Agence France Presse in Rome, wrote the day by day account of the shooting of the Fellini film...