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I Want You to Know We're Still Here Reviews

I Want You to Know We're Still Here by Esther Safran Foer

I Want You to Know We're Still Here

My family, the Holocaust and my search for truth

Esther Safran Foer

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: HQ
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 16 Apr 2020
ISBN: 9780008297626

A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK 'Esther Safran Foer has written of her family in a way that is both uniquely and heartbreakingly her story and a deeply important testament for Ashkenazi Jews. Her memories are our important history.' Robert Peston, ITV Political Editor

  • The BooksellerEditor's Choice
4 stars out of 5
Caroline Sanderson
17 Jan 2020

"This is her powerful account of uncovering her family history, notably that of her father, who committed suicide."

Safran Foer, named one of the most powerful women in Washington DC, is the mother of writers Franklin, Joshua and Jonathan Safran Foer. Born to parents who were the only members of their families to survive the Holocaust, her childhood was marked by painful silences about the past. This is her powerful account of uncovering her family history, notably that of her father, who committed suicide. Discovering that he had a first wife and daughter, later murdered by the Nazis, she journeys to Ukraine to find out more, armed only with a photo and a hand-drawn map.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
1 Jun 2020

"Esther Safran Foer solves the family mysteries at the heart of her son Jonathan's novel in a superb memoir,"

Esther does not shy away from the horrifying details of the “Holocaust by bullets” – the way, for example, that one mass grave moved for days because there were still victims alive, beneath the earth. But, her book, overridingly and wonderfully, turns out to be more a hymn to life than a requiem for the dead.

4 stars out of 5
24 Apr 2020

" The book is steeped in history but, crucially, not concerned with history. It is concerned with family, with memory. "

It’s a noble search, and makes for a moving book. Much of the narrative is sad. Death, silence, emptiness haunt the work. There are things that may never be known. But the telling is unique and interesting. The book succeeds in putting names (or more precisely, stories) to things that exist only as artefacts, and inversely putting physicality to things that exist only as story. The delineation between history and memory is a significant one, and gives an interesting angle to the narrative. “History is public. Memory is personal. It is about stories and select experiences. History is the end of something. Memory is the beginning of something.”