By Joanne Jacobson
Published September 20, 2011. The ForwardWhat They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past
This book's force lies...in her story-hungry presence, in the "project of rerooting" -- the emotional satisfactions of reconstructing the lost world beneath "the impenetrable layers of family silences."
"At its most brilliant, Miller's book is a writer's memoir - a book brimming with passion and intelligence. Her story engages the reader because she uncovers an unvarnished truth by sifting, assembling and ordering, and then willingly reordering the facts of a life, of many lives." - Judy Bolton-Fasman for The Jerusalem Post
Naomi Kramer, Jewish Book Council, December 2011
This is an unusual memoir and one well worth reading. Who knows--this book might encourage the reader to discover the source of...her own mysterious life artifacts.
"[Miller] writes thoughtfully about her efforts to piece together a family's story of dislocation, success, and broken links, and of how, in the process, Miller reconnected with Jewish history and traditions."—Publishers Weekly
"[What They Saved is] an unusual, intellectual perspective on an often-told story."—Kirkus Reviews
"Miller's suspension of the expectation of closure—her acceptance of the condition of remembering and of writing as forever incomplete—also draws her memoir deeply into the emotional experience of change that shaped modernity for Jews all over the world. And it confirms the importance of personal narrative, perhaps modernity's most recognizable voice, in framing and accepting the losses and the uncertainties of that experience."—Joanne Jacobson, Jewish Daily Forward
(Joanne Jacobson Jewish Daily Forward
"What They Saved can be approached as an illuminating and instructive example of how to conduct a genealogical investigation. But it is also a rich and accomplished family chronicle, full of fascinating incidents and turbulent emotions. Above all, it is a searing work of self-exploration, artful and eloquent in the telling but heartbreaking in its candor."—Jonathan Kirsch, JewishJournal.com
(Jonathan Kirsch JewishJournal.com
"This marvelous memoir pinpoints the elusive phenomenon whereby memories get through to our consciousness and how they ultimately influence our lives. Capturing moments of transformation is what happens over and over in an adept memoir like What They Saved."—Judy Bolton-Fasman, Jerusalem Post
(Judy Bolton-Fasman Jerusalem Post