Eugene's Farewell

by Lydie Haenlin

translated as Une longue traversée, by the author, 2018
English Eugene's Fairwell cover

Eugene's Farewell is the saga of an Alsatian family who emigrated to the United States in the late 19th century. The main character, Eugene, recounts the reasons and preparations for his family's move; a difficult endeavor, given the limited means of this family of gardeners and cotton mill workers. He ponders the many difficulties of crossing and adjusting to new places and a culture so strange for those unprepared Alsatians.

The reader comes to understand what sustains these people in their search for happiness and professional accomplishment in the face of life's challenges. We also discover Eugene's passion for gardens and blooms; a passion which nourished him from his childhood in Alsace to the end of his long life in Eaton, New York.

This novel demystifies the "American dream" by showing with precision the every day life of these immigrants thought very adaptable, and yet subjected to the whims of fate.