Where She Came From: A Daughter's Search for Her Mother's Historyby Helen Epstein
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A sequel to her groundbreaking book, Children of the Holocaust, Where She Came From is a daughter’s memoir of her mother’s family. Drawing on her journalistic training, the author demonstrates how documentary research can unearth family history and bridge the historical chasm of the Shoah. This book is at once a memoir, a family history and a social history of Central European Jews of the 19th and 20th centuries. The three generations of women she portrays are dressmakers; the fashion salon, a refuge and a rare institution where women could speak.
“In the guise of a family memoir, she brilliantly evokes Jewish life in the Czech lands... Epstein is unsparing, and unlike many family biographers, who are in thrall to their characters, she steps out of the frame to observe herself.” - New York Times Book Review, Ruth Gay
“In Epstein's expert and sensitive hands, truth becomes not only stranger than fiction, but more magnetic, wise and powerful.” - Gloria Steinem
“Helen Epstein's literary pilgrimage to her past will enrich our quest for memory and understanding. Written with her superb talent of storytelling, her tale is profoundly human.” - Elie Wiesel
- Plunkett Lake Press
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Meet the Author
Helen Epstein is the author of six books of literary non-fiction including the two memoirs Children of the Holocaust and Where She Came From: A Daughter's Search for her Mother's History and the biography Joe Papp: An American Life. All three books were named New York Times Notable Books of the Year.
Her other works are Music Talks: The Lives of Classical Musicians; Tina Packer Builds a Theater; Meyer Schapiro: Portrait of an Art Historian; Memoir: How I Read, Write and Use It; The Shakespeare & Company Actor Training Experience; Ice Cream Man: 25 Years at Toscanini's in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and her translation of Heda Kovaly's classic memoir Under A Cruel Star. Her book on memoir, Ecrire La Vie, was published in 2009 by La Cause des Livres (Paris).
Born in Prague in 1947, Helen grew up in New York City, where she graduated from Hunter College High School in 1965. She became a journalist after the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968 when her personal account was published in the Jerusalem Post.
In 1971, Helen graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and began freelancing for diverse publications including the New York Times where her first Magazine cover story on freelance musician Ed Birdwell ran in 1974. Her profiles of legendary musicians such as Vladimir Horowitz, Leonard Bernstein and Yo-Yo Ma are collected in Music Talks.
She began teaching journalism at New York University in 1974 and became the first woman in the journalism department to be awarded tenure. In 1986, she left NYU to move to the Boston area. She has an active speaking career and has lectured at a wide variety of venues including universities in Europe, North and South America; health organizations; high schools; synagogues, libraries and churches; the United States Military Academy at West Point; the Embassy of the Czech Republic and the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The mother of two grown sons, Helen shuttles between the Berkshires and the Boston area with her husband and blogs about the arts for www.theartsfuse.com
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This book paints a moving and fact-filled description of one woman's journey through the Holocaust. It describes not only how it affected her, but also how it impacted her daughter (the author). Very moving. Makes the reader realize just how lucky we are to live when and where we live.