ISBN is

978-0-385-33369-6 / 0385333692

After Long Silence: A Memoir

by Fremont, Helen

Publisher:Delacorte Press

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

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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