Helen Fremont

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Helen Fremont is an award-winning author and essayist. She wrote the critically-acclaimed, national best-selling book, After Long Silence. Her latest book, The Escape Artist, was selected as an “Editor’s Choice” new book by The New York Times in 2020.

The Escape Artist

Selected by People Magazine as a Best New Book in 2020.

New York Times listed as Editor’s Choice in 2020.

Winner of the Audiophile Earphone Award.

Selected by BookPage as a “Reader’s Choice” best book of 2020.

The Escape Artist by Helen Fremont, book cover

A luminous family memoir from the author of the critically acclaimed national bestseller, After Long Silence, lauded as “mesmerizing” (The Washington Post Book World), “extraordinary” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), and “a triumphant work of art” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

In the tradition of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home or George Hodgman’s Bettyville, Fremont writes with wit and candor about growing up in a household held together by a powerful glue: secrets. Her parents, profoundly affected by their memories of the Holocaust, pass on to both Helen and her older sister a penchant for keeping their lives neatly, even obsessively compartmentalized, and a zealous determination to protect themselves from what they see as danger from the outside world.

Selected by BookPage as one of the “Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2020” (starred review)

Read the New York Times Book Review.

Read the Washington Post Book Review.

Winner of Audiofile Earphones Award.

Advanced Praise for The Escape Artist

“…Beautifully written, honest, and psychologically astute. A must read.”

— Mary Karr, New York Times bestselling author of The Liars Club

“A riveting exploration of trauma and its aftermath.”


“The Escape Artist does what the best memoirs do by forcing readers out of their own comfy shoes and into those of another human being.  By the time Helen Fremont returned me to my own life at book’s end, I found it had been both shaken and expanded by hers.  Isn’t this why we read?”

—Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Chances Are… and Empire Falls

“A wrenching, riveting memoir… With hard-won clarity and compassion, Fremont shows herself to be a teller of complex truths and a literary artist.”

—Margo Jefferson, New York Times bestselling and NBCC Award-winning author of Negroland

“A humane, honest, eviscerating but entertaining exploration of intimate betrayal, the legacy of secrets, and the high cost of truth-telling… powerful and utterly engrossing.”

—George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville

“A stunner of a family memoir – a harrowing, sometimes mordantly funny account of the wages of secrecy bred of war and dislocation… a page-turner of uncommon valor.”

—Patricia Hampl, author of The Art of the Wasted Day and A Romantic Education

“Powerful … a shattering account of growing up in a family that has survived genocide.”

—Helen Epstein, author of Children of the Holocaust

Featured Book: After Long Silence

After a Long Silence Book Cover

“To this day, I don’t even know what my mother’s real name is.” Helen Fremont was raised as a Roman Catholic. It wasn’t until she was an adult, practicing law in Boston, that she discovered her parents were Jewish – Holocaust survivors living invented lives. Not even their names were their own. In this powerful memoir, Helen Fremont delves into the secrets that held her family in a bond of silence for more than four decades, recounting with heartbreaking clarity a remarkable tale of survival, as vivid as fiction but with the resonance of truth.

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News and Events

Read Helen’s review of Kevin McIlvoy’s new book, “Is It So?”

Helen's book review of Kevin McIlvoy's book "Is It So? - Arrowsmith Press

Hot off the press!
Read Helen’s book review of Kevin McIlvoy’s collection of fiction, Is It So? available online from Arrowsmith Press:

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The Escape Artist at Smithtown Library, NY

October 17, 2023

Join Helen Fremont, author of The Escape Artist as she tells her family's story of surviving the Holocaust by telling lies which they maintained throughout their lives causing family tensions.

Join Helen Fremont, author of The Escape Artist, in conversation with Attorney Aaron Futterman at the Smithtown Library in Smithtown, NY. Helen will tell her family’s story of surviving the Holocaust, emigrating to America, and hiding their identity as Jews from colleagues, and friends, and their own children.

Helen was omitted from her father’s will, listed as deceased, leaving her with the decision of whether or not to contest the will. Attorney Aaron Futterman will discuss the legal issues surrounding wills, estate litigation and when it is appropriate to pursue legal action. Helen Fremont will appear via Zoom and Aaron Futterman will be in person. Registration required.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023
6:30 – 8:00 pm

(Registration is open to Smithtown Library cardholders only until October 10, when it opens to all.
Register online at https://www.smithlib.org/event/escape-artist
or call the library at 631-360-2480.

Smithtown Building
1 Country Road
Smithtown, NY 11787
(631) 360-2480

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Gloucester Writers Group – Helen in conversation with Kathleen Watt

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Join Helen in conversation with Kathleen Watt, author of the memoir "Rearranged" October 19, 2023, 7:00 pm Gloucester Writers Center 126

Join Helen in conversation with Kathleen Watt, author of the memoir Rearranged

Thursdsay, October 19, 2023, 7:00 pm

Gloucester Writers Center
126 East Main St.
Gloucester MA 01930

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Other Published Works by Helen Fremont: