I attended a gallery opening with my friend Roni this weekend, and said hello to her friend Bernice Eisenstein, a local writer whom I'd like to introduce to you.
I was reminded of how moved I've been by Bernice's bittersweet illustrated memoir, "I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors." The highly evocative book tells the story of her parents, who survived Auschwitz.
It's also about Bernice, who examines her need to know them by entering a part of their life that they resisted describing.
If you share Bernice's family history, are interested in the triumph of the spirit after unimaginable tragedy, or want to pass on this knowledge to a younger generation, Jewish or not, born after some of the most memorable voices have been stilled by age, I recommend this book.
The darkness of her parents' story is tempered by her account of how, resettled in Toronto, they and other family members built a new life. They would gather to feast and toast, L'chaim.
When I saw Bernice read a festival last year (sharing the stage with the sublime graphic novelist Ben Katchor), her aunt rose from the audience during the Q & A and said, "This is a very brave book".
I agree, a brave and beautiful book.