Books

The Escape Artist

Featured Book: The Escape Artist

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.

She delves deeply into the family dynamic that produced such a startling devotion to secret-keeping, beginning with the painful and unexpected discovery that she has been disinherited in her father’s will. In scenes that are frank, moving, and often surprisingly funny, Fremont writes about growing up in such an intemperate household, with parents who pretended to be Catholics but were really Jews—survivors of Nazi-occupied Poland. She shares tales of family therapy sessions, disordered eating, her sister’s frequently unhinged meltdowns, and her own romantic misadventures as she tries to sort out her sexual identity.

In a family devoted to hiding the truth, Fremont learns the truth is the one thing that can set you free. Scorching, witty, and ultimately redemptive, The Escape Artist is a powerful contribution to the memoir shelf.

Read Praise and Reviews

Watch (under 3 minutes) Author Helen Fremont on being disowned and declared dead by her family.

Hear (2 minute) segment on  The Drum Literary Magazine “Safe and Sound” mini-cast, first episode.

Watch a 47 minute YouTube book talk with Helen Epstein hosted by the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Listen to “On Point” WYPR radio with Lisa Morgan and Marion Winik: Helen Fremont and the Minefield of Family Memoir.

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After Long Silence

Featured Book: After Long Silence

Driven to uncover their roots, Fremont and her sister pieced together an astonishing story: of Siberian Gulags and Italian royalty, of concentration camps and buried lives. After Long Silence is about the devastating price of hiding the truth; about families; about the steps we take, foolish or wise, to protect ourselves and our loved ones. No one who reads this book can be unmoved, or fail to understand the seductive, damaging power of secrets.

Published by Penguin Random House

Purchase Book at these places:

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Bookshop

Penguin Random House
Amazon
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Books A Million

 

“A story of safe but costly passage from one identity to another that takes us from Europe to America via World War II . . . [Fremont] has the intelligence and imagination to question her own motives. This allows her to question the memoir form, even as she deploys it so beautifully.”

—The New York Times

“Mesmerizing . . . Fremont has accomplished something that seems close to impossible. She has made a fresh and worthy contribution to the vast literature of the Holocaust.”

—The Washington Post Book World

“Fascinating . . . A tragic saga, but at the same time it often reads like a thriller filled with acts of extraordinary courage, descriptions of dangerous journeys and a series of secret identities.”

—Chicago Tribune

“Riveting . . . painfully authentic . . . a poignant memoir, a labor of love for the parents she never really knew.”

—The Boston Globe

“Fremont’s memoir is an incredible tale of survival, a beautiful love story and a suspenseful account of how the author’s investigation of her roots shattered fiercely guarded family secrets…”

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)  > Read Review

“…Fremont is an immensely gifted writer who has vividly reconstructed a sensitive and memorable family saga of terror, hiding, and passing, as well as of personal imperatives over two generations around both casting off and confronting the past.

—Kirkus Review  > Read Review