It was in 2006 that I was first sitting at aunt Hanna’s kitchen, her big family gathered around a small table. The lack of electricity accounted for semi-darkness. On the table, a kerosene lamp shone. These long family gatherings struck me as a habitual mode of spending evenings in the absence of television, and the praxis of telling stories had been closely connected to the exploration of memory.

Someone had an idea, and Hanna handed me a calendar. As Aunt Hanna started a long, complicated story of family relations, consisting primarily of dates of births, marriages, and deaths, she saw that I…