After Long Silence
Publisher: Delta (January 11, 2000)
Imagine being raised as Mid-western, pseudo-religious Catholic, only to learn that your parents are in fact, Polish Jews, and survivors of the Holocaust to boot. Imagine that, and you'll have some idea of what Helen Fremont went through.
After Long Silence is a memoir in several parts, jumping between Fremont's childhood, where she wondered about her father's experiences in a gulag that left him with a permanently damaged arm, and learned to say "Hail Mary" in six different languages from her mother as a "a means of survival : proof of my Catholicism to anyone in a dozen countries.", to her experiences as an adult, slowly discovering the truth about her family and her heritage, and even back in time, chronicling the major events of her parents lives as they struggled to stay alive, and ultimate come back together after the devastation of the Second World War.
It's a very powerful, very interesting book, and Fremont tells her story well. She weaves together different time periods and events in a fairly seamless way, and her depictions of her parent's lives in Poland during the war all ring very true. And her own confusion and soul searching at discovering that her parents were not who she thought they were manages to be poignant, without being overbearing.
I wish I had more to say about this book, honestly. Maybe I will after class tonight, or after I've had more sleep. For now, I'll just say that I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone interested in memoir, the Holocaust, or just a very interesting familial mystery.
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