Becoming My Mother’s Daughter: A Story of Survival and Renewal tells the story of three generations of a Jewish Hungarian family whose fate has been inextricably bound up with the turbulent history of Europe, from the First World War through the Holocaust and the communist takeover after World War II, to the family’s dramatic escape and emmigration to Canada. The emotional centre and narrative voice of the story belong to Eva, an artist, dreamer, and writer trying to work through her complex and deep relationship with her mother, whose portrait she cannot paint until she completes her journey through memory.
The core of the book is Eva’s riveting recollection of the last months of World War II in Budapest, seen through a child’s eyes, and is reminiscent in its power of scenes in Joy Kogawa’s Obasan. Exploring the bond between generations of mothers and daughters, the book illustrates the struggle between the need for independence and the search for continuity, the significant impact of childhood on adult life, the reshaping of personality in immigration, the importance of dreams in making us face reality, and the redemptive power of memory. Illustrations by the author throughout the book, some in colour, enhance the story.
About the Author
Erika Gottlieb received visual art training in Budapest, Vienna, and Montreal, and her PhD in English literature at McGill. She taught at McGill, Concordia, and Dawson in Montreal and combined a career in visual arts, teaching, and writing. She is the author of three books of literary criticism, including Dystopian Fiction East and West: Universe of Terror and Trial (2003) and dozens of literary essays. Erika Gottlieb lived with her family in Toronto until her death in 2007.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents for
Becoming My Mother’s Daughter: A Story of Survival and Renewal by Erika Gottlieb
The Tunnel, 1913–1944
The Tunnel, 1944–1945
The Tunnel, 1952–1982