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After Long Silence: A Memoir

Fremont, Helen

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ISBN 10: 0385333692 / ISBN 13: 9780385333696
Verlag: Delacorte Press, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1999
Gebraucht Zustand: Fine Hardcover
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0385333692 Fine Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Buchnummer des Verkäufers FEB145

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: After Long Silence: A Memoir

Verlag: Delacorte Press, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Erscheinungsdatum: 1999

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand:Fine

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Fine

Auflage: First Edition.

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Inhaltsangabe:

Helen Fremont was raised Roman Catholic in America, only to discover in adulthood that her parents were Jews who had survived the Holocaust.  Delving into the extraordinary secrets that held her family together in a bond of silence for more than forty years, she recounts with heartbreaking clarity and candor a remarkable tale of survival, as vivid as fiction but with the eloquence of truth.

When Helen was small, her mother taught her the sign of the cross in six languages.  Theirs was the tender conspiracy of a little girl and her mother at bedtime, protected by a God who could respond in any language.  What she didn't understand was that she was being equipped with proof of her Catholicism, a hedge against persecution, real or imagined.

It wasn't until adulthood that she began to comprehend the terrible irony of her mother's gesture, as she and her sister discovered their parents' remarkable, long-held secret.  She knew that her father had spent six years in the Siberian Gulag, surviving nearly on will alone; that her mother's elder sister, fearless and proud, had married an Italian Fascist whose title and connections helped them to survive during the war.  But their faith, their legacy as Jews, was kept hidden for decades.

After Long Silence is a searching inquiry into the meaning of identity, self, and history.  It's about the devastating price of hiding the truth; about the steps we take, foolish or wise, to protect ourselves and our loved ones.  No one who reads this book can be left unmoved, or fail to understand the seductive, damaging power of secrets.

Review:

In her mid-30s Helen Fremont discovered that, although she had been raised in the Midwest as a Catholic, she was in fact the daughter of Polish Jews whose families had been exterminated in the Holocaust. Fremont's tender but unsparing memoir chronicles the voyage of discovery she took with her older sister, ferreting out information from Jewish organizations and individuals and worrying about its impact on their angry, overpowering father and reticent, nightmare-plagued mother. Fremont has the courage to paint a nearly unsympathetic portrait of her parents' secretiveness and initial reluctance to have their children dredge up the past; as the narrative unfolds, readers comprehend the tormented roots of their behavior without forgetting the psychological problems it created for their daughters. Fremont's re-creation of her parents' ghastly ordeals--her mother narrowly escaping the murder of nearly every Jew in her hometown; her father surviving six years in the Soviet gulag--is a triumph of dogged research and sympathetic imagination. Her book tells a deeply American story of identity lost and reclaimed, complete with Fremont coming out to her parents as a lesbian, yet it also achieves understanding of the dark European past and its icy grip on her family. --Wendy Smith

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