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CBE Book Group presents Helen Fremont in conversation with Linda Quigley - Tuesday, March 9 at 7:30 PM

Author Helen Fremont will be in conversation with CBE Book Group lay leader Linda Quigley to discuss her book, The Escape Artist

In the tradition of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and George Hodgman’s Bettyville, Fremont writes with wit and candor about growing up in a household held together by a powerful glue: secrets. Her parents, profoundly affected by their memories of the Holocaust, pass on to both Helen and her older sister a zealous determination to protect themselves from what they see as danger from the outside world. Fremont delves deeply into the family dynamic that produced such a startling devotion to secret keeping, beginning with the painful and unexpected discovery that she has been disinherited in her father’s will. In scenes that are frank, moving, and often surprisingly funny, she writes about growing up in such an intemperate household, with parents who pretended to be Catholics but were really Jews—and survivors of Nazi-occupied Poland. Searching, poignant, and ultimately redemptive, The Escape Artist is a powerful contribution to the memoir shelf.

Zoom information will be provided upon RSVP.

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Helen Fremont, a lawyer and writer, was raised Roman Catholic by her Eastern European emigre parents.  It was not until she was thirty-five that she discovered that her parents were, in fact, Jewish Holocaust survivors.  The story of her parents’ survival of the Soviet and Nazi occupations, as well as her own efforts to piece together her family’s hidden identity is recorded in her memoir, After Long Silence.  A national bestseller, the book has been published in England and Germany.  Helen is a graduate of Wellesley College, Boston University Law School, and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.  She has been an attorney with the Massachusetts public defender agency since 1985, and was a consultant with the U.S. Justice Department.  She was also a Resident Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Scholars Program, a fiction editor of the Marlboro Review, and has taught at Harvard University, Emerson College, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. She was awarded a fellowship at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and was selected the Common Book Author by Otterbein College in Columbus, Ohio.  Her works of fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and Lilith, among other publications. Helen lives in Boston with her wife, Donna, their giant mutt, Roshi (a rescued Houston Street Dog) and Louie, the cat who deigns to live with them.  An avid rower and outdoorswoman, Helen can be found most mornings before dawn rowing on the Charles River, or working out at the Y.  She co-hosts The Unauthorized Eleanor Wilner Reading Series for Friends of Writers, Inc.

Linda Quigley has served as the lay leader of the Congregation Beth Elohim Book Group since 2009. A former NYC Transit manager, she has worked as a literary publicist at Brooklyn Social Media since 2015. She is also a nascent poet.

Sun, September 24 2023 9 Tishrei 5784