'This book will delight anyone who likes to read of the past as seen through the eyes of the people living it...She tells her story with a tender matter-of-factness that makes it come alive, and displays a refreshing lack of hindsight: the narrative is not, as is so often the case, marked by the shadow of the impending Holocaust. Indeed, nothing in this wonderful tale is obvious, nothing is predictable.' (Adam Zamoyski THE SPECTATOR (8.1.04)
From the Inside Flap
This book could not have been published in Poland even five years ago. A wonderfully intimate family portrait, it follows the lives of four generations of Polish Jews who lived through and mostly survived all the tumultuous events of the twentieth century. Joanna Olczak-Ronikier is the granddaughter of the owners of one of Poland's most prestigious booksellers and publishers. She is a highly acclaimed writer and journalist but it has taken her years to gain the courage to tell her story. Full of amazing tales of bravery as well as hilarious anecdotes of everyday life, In the Garden of Memory is a mixture of history and biography that reads like an epic novel. Many of the family were Communists or members of the Socialist Party and fought for the cause unstintingly despite being constantly imprisoned and sent to Siberia. Their escapes and evasions make fascinating reading - on one occasion they were exiled 'beyond the bounds of Russia' so they went to Europe for a year. Incredibly, partly through luck and partly through inspiration, they managed to escape the fate of many other Jewish families during the war. Whether hiding in cellars for months at a time or holding revolutionary meetings, escaping the burning ghetto or sending telegrams to the BBC they never gave in and never gave up hope. This is an extraordinary and hugely revealing memoir related with a lightness of tone and a sense of humour that make it a joy to read. ILLUSTRATED 18.99 in UK only Joanna Olczak-Ronikier was born in 1934 and is a highly acclaimed writer and journalist. She has also written a film scenario for Andrzej Wajda. Her grandparents, the Mortkowicz family, ran one of the best literary bookshops and publishing houses in Poland before World War II.