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House of Glass: Book summary and reviews of House of Glass by Hadley Freeman

House of Glass

The Story and Secrets of a Twentieth-Century Jewish Family

by Hadley Freeman

House of Glass by Hadley Freeman X
House of Glass by Hadley Freeman
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2020
    352 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

A writer investigates her family's secret history, uncovering a story that spans a century, two World Wars, and three generations.

Hadley Freeman knew her grandmother Sara lived in France just as Hitler started to gain power, but rarely did anyone in her family talk about it. Long after her grandmother's death, she found a shoebox tucked in the closet containing photographs of her grandmother with a mysterious stranger, a cryptic telegram from the Red Cross, and a drawing signed by Picasso.

This discovery sent Freeman on a decade-long quest to uncover the significance of these keepsakes, taking her from Picasso's archives in Paris to a secret room in a farmhouse in Auvergne to Long Island to Auschwitz. Freeman pieces together the puzzle of her family's past, discovering more about the lives of her grandmother and her three brothers, Jacques, Henri, and Alex. Their stories sometimes typical, sometimes astonishing—reveal the broad range of experiences of Eastern European Jews during Holocaust.

This thrilling family saga is filled with extraordinary twists, vivid characters, and famous cameos, illuminating the Jewish and immigrant experience in the World War II era. Addressing themes of assimilation, identity, and home, this powerful story about the past echoes issues that remain relevant today.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Going through her late grandmother's closet yielded discoveries in a shoebox that propelled the author on a decades-long pursuit through her family's history before, during, and after the Holocaust...Frightening, inspiring, and cautionary in equal measure." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A timely exploration of family secrets, immigration, and anti-Semitism, this work will appeal to readers of World War II-era history." - Library Journal

"A magnificently vivid re-creation of her Jewish family's experience of 20th-century Europe, from a Polish shtetl reminiscent of Isaac Bashevis Singer's stories and Marc Chagall's art, via Parisian haute couture to the Résistance and Auschwitz, Hadley Freeman's book is also an acute examination of the roots, tropes, and persistence of anti-Semitism, which makes it an urgently necessary book for us to read right now." - Salman Rushdie

"House of Glass is extraordinary. It reads like a mystery and a memoir and a gripping history of the last century. Armed with a shoebox filled with her grandmother's keepsakes, Hadley Freeman reconstructs the story of a family that the Holocaust tried to erase. Freeman doesn't hide from the gray spaces people inhabit during wartime, or shy away from drawing the terrifying parallels to today's iterations of those ancient hatreds. It's a brave and wonderful book." - Nathan Englander, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

"It glitters like a diamond—revealing not only the extraordinary story of the Glass family, but the many facets of twentieth-century Jewish experience. Written with lightness and warmth, this book is both timely and timeless." - Helen Lewis, staff writer at the Atlantic and author of Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights

The information about House of Glass shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Hadley Freeman

Hadley Freeman is a columnist and writer for the Guardian newspaper in the UK. She was born in New York and lives in London. Her books include Life Moves Pretty Fast, The Meaning of Sunglasses, and Be Awesome, and her work has appeared in Vogue US and UK, New York magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and many other publications.

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