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The Watchmaker's Daughter: A Memoir

The Watchmaker's Daughter: A Memoir

4.7 12
by Sonia Taitz

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The Watchmaker's Daughter tells the story of a child of two refugees: a watchmaker who saved lives within Dachau prison, and his wife, a gifted concert pianist about to make her debut when the Nazis seized power. In this memoir, Sonia Taitz is born into a world in which the Holocaust is discussed constantly by her insular concentration camp-surviving


The Watchmaker's Daughter tells the story of a child of two refugees: a watchmaker who saved lives within Dachau prison, and his wife, a gifted concert pianist about to make her debut when the Nazis seized power. In this memoir, Sonia Taitz is born into a world in which the Holocaust is discussed constantly by her insular concentration camp-surviving parents. This legacy, combined with Sonia's passion and intelligence, leads the author to forge an adventurous life in which she seeks to heal both her parents and herself through travel, achievement, and a daring love affair. Ironically, it is her marriage to a non-Jew that brings her parents the peace and fulfillment they would never have imagined possible. Sonia manages to combine her own independence with a tender dutifulness, honoring her parents' legacy while forging a new family of her own.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
An invigorating memoir about coming of age as the daughter of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants and Holocaust survivors. Taitz's (In the King's Arms, 2011, etc.) childhood was punctuated by stories of her parents' and grandmother's loss as well as their faith during their time in the ghetto and Dachau. Here, the author explores her early awareness of standing out as a child; the transition from desiring assimilation to appreciating her Yiddish heritage; personal relationships; a vow to her father; travel to Israel; the differences between life on the West and East coasts; the search for meaningful work after she realized a Yale law degree did not align with her artistic impulses; study at Oxford; marriage, divorce and remarriage; and the deaths of her parents, Simon and Gita. Motifs of time, filial love, the preservation of memories and the biblical story of Queen Esther weave throughout these chapters, which also stand alone as essays that capture the spirit of the postwar decades. Taitz evokes popular culture, from the silver screen to commercial jingles, and intersperses lighter moments with deeper considerations of suffering. Though the author focuses mostly on her experiences, it is Simon and Gita's perseverance that truly shines--the former a respected watchmaker who began life anew more than once, the latter a concert-level pianist whose dreams were thwarted by war and who rescued her own mother from the Nazis' infamous selections. Taitz portrays her parents with tenderness while acknowledging their imperfections. An affecting, brisk read, especially noteworthy for its essential optimism and accomplished turns of phrase.

Product Details

McWitty Press
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Product dimensions:
5.66(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.58(d)

Meet the Author

Sonia Taitz is the author of In the King’s Arms, a novel which was praised by the New York Times Book Review as “beguiling.” Vanity Fair essayist and critic Jesse Kornbluth dubbed Sonia Taitz the “the female, Jewish Evelyn Waugh” (surpassing Martin Amis and Philip Roth); ForeWord placed her in “in the province of the best poets, playwrights and novelists.” Her previous book, Mothering Heights, garnered Sonia Taitz praise as “an incisive, funny writer”(People) who is both “wise and witty” (Publishers’ Weekly); Mothering Heights was cited in O: The Oprah Magazine as “one of the best things ever written by famous writers on motherhood” (May, 2011).

The Watchmaker’s Daughter, a memoir, is the poignant tale of Sonia’s binocular life as the American child of European concentration camp survivors. In it, she is adult and child, daughter and mother&mdash but always the inspired interpreter of her special historical legacy.

Ms. Taitz earned a J.D. from Yale, and served as a Law Guardian for foster children and an ER advocate for assaulted women. She holds an M.Phil in English from Oxford, and won its Lord Bullock Prize for Writing. Her plays have been seen at the Oxford Playhouse, the National Theatre (in D.C.), New York's Primary Stages, and the Obie Award-winning Ensemble Studio Theatre, where she served as Writer-in-Residence.

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The Watchmaker's Daughter: A Memoir 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
AnnapolisReader More than 1 year ago
This is a poignant coming of age memoir about the daughter of Holocaust survivors growing up in America. Beautifully written, surprisingly funny, tender and full of love and healing — an inspiring tale of forgiveness, tolerance, and the necessity of discovering and following one’s own path.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good insight to life for a Jewish girl living in New York after the war. How traumatic events affect even the next generations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jgoss825 More than 1 year ago
A different take on the post-war lives of Holocaust survivors from the viewpoint of their daughter.  Sonia shares what it was like to grow up as a child in post-war America with two Holocaust survivors for parents.  She faces the challenges of an unconventional childhood with humor and  spirit, which also follows her through some trying times in her adult years.  The book takes the reader all the way through until the end, and it is truly hard to read these memories because you form an attachment to Sonia's parents.  Although it was a bit unconventional, I did enjoy this book and appreciated its style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Somthing about this era and the survivors facinates me. Very well writte. I tecomended it to my sistors!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jeff_Lapides More than 1 year ago
I was impressed by this memoir, which tells the story of growing up in the house of immigrants. The author's parents are refugees from Nazi Germany, but the book could apply to so many other circumstances. It's a very American tale of starting over, of a child's wish to lead her parents to a brighter state of mind, to move forward to forgiveness. The ending is surprising and satisfying. All in all, a brave and touching book that made me think.
Coppelia More than 1 year ago
A timeless journey of a young woman's love for and separation from her parents and the lost world of the Holocaust. Funny, moving and memorable!
Daniel_F_Buchwalder More than 1 year ago
"What a passionate and meaningful book. Sonia Taitz is an authentic writer as well as a person with a unique point of view and the talent to convey it. The Watchmaker's Daughter is a much about the holocaust as Angela's Ashes is about alcoholism. It takes a true author to make art out of trauma. The Watchmaker's Daughter makes us laugh and cry, understand the past and move into the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A brave girl whose life is an adventure and an author who knows how to tell a story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love memoirs, and this one is one of the best I've ever picked up. From the first page, I was gripped by the story of a young, eager girl who wants to provide comfort to her parents. Like the master watchmaker who is her father, Sonia Taitz really knows her craft. I didn't want the book to end because I didn't want to leave the world this author created.