One Hundred Saturdays: Book summary and reviews of One Hundred Saturdays by Michael Frank

One Hundred Saturdays

Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World

by Michael Frank

One Hundred Saturdays by Michael Frank X
One Hundred Saturdays by Michael Frank
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  • Published Sep 2022
    240 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

The remarkable story of ninety-nine-year-old Stella Levi whose conversations with the writer Michael Frank over the course of six years bring to life the vibrant world of Jewish Rhodes, the deportation to Auschwitz that extinguished ninety percent of her community, and the resilience and wisdom of the woman who lived to tell the tale.

With nearly a century of life behind her, Stella Levi had never before spoken in detail about her past. Then she met Michael Frank. He came to her Greenwich Village apartment one Saturday afternoon to ask her a question about the Juderia, the neighborhood in Rhodes where she'd grown up in a Jewish community that had thrived there for half a millennium.

Neither of them could know this was the first of one hundred Saturdays that they would spend in each other's company as Stella traveled back in time to conjure what it felt like to come of age on this luminous, legendary island in the eastern Aegean, which the Italians began governing as an official possession in 1923 and transformed over the next two decades until the Germans seized control and deported the entire Juderia to Auschwitz.

Probing and courageous, candid and sly, Stella is a magical modern-day Scheherazade whose stories reveal what it was like to grow up in an extraordinary place in an extraordinary time—and to construct a life after that place has vanished. One Hundred Saturdays is a portrait of one of the last survivors drawn at nearly the last possible moment, as well as an account of a tender and transformative friendship that develops between storyteller and listener as they explore the fundamental mystery of what it means to collect, share, and interpret the deepest truths of a life deeply lived.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] compelling and unique story of genocide and loss...Stella and Frank's conversations evoke a remarkable relationship, and Stella herself is a model for constant reinvention, even at her age...An essential read for Jewish history and memoir fans. Stella is a compelling character for anyone to meet." - Library Journal (starred review)

"Frank revisits the life of nonagenarian and Holocaust survivor Stella Levi in his incandescent latest...Frank's narrative shines with an ebullience, thanks to the 'unusually rich, textured, and evolving' life of his utterly enchanting muse. The result provides an essential, humanist look into a dark chapter of 20th-century history." - Publishers Weekly

"The narrative, interspersed with Kalman's color paintings of scenes from Levi's life, is an evocative and heartbreaking work...The story Levi tells...is gut-wrenching in its horrifying familiarity, and Frank presents it well—even if the concept of 100 Saturdays comes across as a storytelling gimmick. A brutal yet ultimately hopeful account from one of history's darkest episodes." - Kirkus Reviews

"This intimate story of one remarkable woman is also the history of a people. One Hundred Saturdays is an important book, brilliantly told and illustrated, and profoundly moving." - Hilma Wolitzer, author of Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket

"A stunning achievement—both as a momentous historic retrieval and a work of literary art. I was gripped throughout by this thoughtful, psychologically rich conversation." - Phillip Lopate, film critic and editor of The Art of the Personal Essay

"Like his subject, Stella Levi, Michael Frank is a master storyteller. He knows how to dole out information in a way that is nothing short of brilliant, and in One Hundred Saturdays he even manages to infuse the ghostly past with an air of lively, sympathetic suspense." - Wendy Lesser, author of Why I Read

This information about One Hundred Saturdays was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Michael Frank

Michael Frank is the author of What Is Missing, a novel, and The Mighty Franks, a memoir, which was awarded the 2018 JQ Wingate Prize and was named one of the best books of the year by the Telegraph and the New Statesman. His essays, articles, and short stories have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, Slate, the Yale Review, Salmagundi, the TLS, Tablet, and other publications. The recipient of a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship, he lives with his family in New York City and Camogli, Italy.

Maira Kalman is the author/illustrator of over thirty books for adults and children and a contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Times. She lives in New York City.

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