Survival in Paradise

A Memoir by Manfred Wolf


Survival in Paradise: Sketches From a Refugee Life in Curaçao is a funny, moving memoir of growing up in the Caribbean West Indies, in the aftermath of World War Two. The narrative covers Manfred’s childhood and adolescent years in Suriname and Curacao between 1942 to 1951, focusing on his development between the ages of eight and seventeen. In doing so, it renders through specific moments the long, sad shadow cast by the war over the refugees. 

In Curacao, the Wolf family’s life was shaped by three occasionally clashing cultures: colonial Dutch, native Curaçaoan, and, of course, the refugee culture itself. The family found itself surrounded by a joyous tropical culture, one to which, as a boy, Manfred yearned to belong. Meanwhile, his parents, each in their own way, brooded about the horrors so recently experienced and never fully left behind.