A Very Capable Life
208 pages, 5 1/2 x 8
b&w photos and illustrations
Release Date:01 Dec 2009

A Very Capable Life

The Autobiography of Zarah Petri

Athabasca University Press
Zarah Petri was just a little girl when her family left Hungary to finda new life in Canada in the 1920s. She showed spunk and a greatimagination that would serve her well as a new immigrant and youngmarried woman. Zarah and her family lived through the Depression, andshe learned to make ends meet in any way she could, even bending thelaw if necessary. Her son John writes this touching memoir, told in thefirst person, in Zarah’s own unique voice. Her remembrances aresometimes funny, sometimes sad but always entertaining.


  • 2010, Winner - Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction
Zarah’s free spirit and sharp intelligence animate the narrative at every turn, making it the kind of story that once begun, a reader is loath to leave unfinished. Tamara Palmer Seiler, University of Calgary
John Leigh Walters has spent much of his life writing,producing, and hosting television programs in both Canada and theUnited States.
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