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Caroline Heller’s unforgettable book is a memoir told in two parts. In Part I, Heller depicts the lives of her mother, father, uncle, and their close friends, who were all at the center of the Jewish literary and intellectual cafe culture in Prague during the 1930’s. Heller recreates the time and place in vivid detail—the expressions and clothing, the dialogue and gestures, thoughts, and emotions; her extensive historical knowledge transformed into a gripping narrative. As Hitler’s power continues to grow, the world and culture Heller’s family and friends treasured is destroyed forever, and they are all forced to flee the country and continent. Heller’s father, however, is captured at the border and imprisoned in Buchenwald for six years: his powerful letters to Heller’s mother and uncle form the centerpiece of the book.
Part II begins at Caroline’s birth, and follows her childhood and coming of age, as she struggles to understand the mysteries of her parents’ lives, and her own life’s relation to the momentous historical events that shaped her family’s story. Poignant and moving, Heller’s memoir is a family history that reimagines the possibilities of the genre, a book for anyone who ever longed to know what life was like for our family and loved ones, in a world very different from our own.
- EAN: 9780385337618