Write at once and in detail The re-creation of Mimi and her family by Marion Macalpine
Please do come to my talk about the book in Senate House, London University, in the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies. It will be on 7th February 2024 6pm. Address: Bedford Room, G37, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.
A memoir/art book/detective story that builds a gripping narrative from torn up letters sent by the author's Jewish grandmother in Vienna to her mother in England just before the second world war.
When there is a silence in a family about its history, the urge to know can become intense. Marion’s mother Nolly was born near Vienna in 1916. In 1936 Nolly went to England to learn the language and lived there for the rest of her life. She never called herself Jewish, and never spoke about her mother Mimi, her father Edmund, or her brothers Hans and Otto. So Marion knew almost nothing about her grandparents or her uncles. Nolly kept a large bundle of letters closed up in a big hatbox. One day when Nolly was in her 90s, Marion found a mass of shredded letters in a bag in the dustbin. What would you have done? This book raises the question of who has the right to know and who has the right to keep silent. It is also a detective story which gathers clues from multiple sources, as well as an elegant photobook. Marion has pieced the shreds together and made sense of them. She now has an archive, a chronology and a history. She has also got to know the urgent, ironic, sometimes trenchant voices of her family members. She writes: ‘I have now assembled the shreds into almost breathing, almost speaking individuals.’ This book shows Mimi and her family emerging from the shreds.
Published by Marion Macalpine, May 2023 ISNB 9781399925488 188 pages, 25 x 20 cm, printed on Munken Pure Smooth Cream £ 20 plus p and p