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MY INNOCENT ABSENCE - Quotes

Elegantly written and fascinating.
Fay Weldon

A poignant and beautifully written saga of migrations, which punctuates the history of our times…
Moris Farhi

Absolutely riveting.
Amanda Hopkinson

Frank reviews the period with a fresh eye. This is truly a new story…
THE INDEPENDENT, UK

Her voyages, spelt out in her new memoirs, have nothing to do with the Paul Theroux school of travel writing. …They became the real life characters at Rick’s Café in Casablanca…
CAMDEN NEW JOURNAL, London UK

…this dramatic and quite gripping autobiography…
BUENOS AIRES HERALD, Argentina

Miriam Frank’s life is the epitome of twentieth century displacement.
ESRA MAGAZINE, Israel

Miriam Frank raconta la sua vita in un libro fantastico, commovente...
ITALIA SERA, Rome

…My Innocent Absence, full of lovely, tactile detail, is the story of a peripatetic life.
JEWISH QUARTERLY, UK

EDWARD WILSON, writer and critic - It isn't surprising that physicians often make excellent writers - they are trained to observe. Miriam Frank is one of that great line of physicians turned writers that includes Chekhov, Maugham and Keats. In Miriam's case the flawless professionalism of the surgery flows seamlessy into flawless prose that has echoes of Lawrence and Proust. This book thoroughly emerges the reader in the human condition from birth to death and back again.

AMAZON US & UK

KAPKA KASSABOVA - This really is a journey into the self and the making of the self - the most difficult journey of all, but one that perhaps those with fewer losses and ruptures in their lives are protected from (and all the poorer for it).
Miriam Frank's history-enforced peregrinations are extraordinary, but much more extraordinary yet is the inner struggle, the quality of the quest and her enquiry into human behavior. I enjoyed the frank, lively, and memorable insights into places and people. It is a Herculean journey with many impossible tasks along the way, unexpected wounds from those closest to her, and most difficult of all - the ability to transcend all of this without being crippled by self-deception and self-regard.
I was enthralled by the childhood scenes in Marseille and Mexico, Frank's vivid depiction of those places and the people she was close to. The portrait of Israel is fascinating too, as is Frank's reflections on Jewish identity and its paradoxes. The rupture that resulted in Frank's teens being spent in New Zealand I found particularly resonant. Frank's evocation of the country and how she felt in Christchurch and Dunedin as a student gets to the heart of the Kiwi malaise, or rather the malaise of those who could not become Kiwis.
The memorable scene with the red dress and Frank's German aunt ('We don't wear red in New Zealand') was for me one of the most heart-breaking in the entire book, because it so vividly summed up the cultural and personal torment of the young being, still forming herself against a constantly changing environment. I also found the relationship with Frank's mother intriguing, and the rift between the three women in the family (her sister barely gets a mention) was to me one of the most astonishing and devastating aspects of the story.
Frank's analysis of the psychic split that all the cultural displacement has caused is lucid and poignant, and there were many passages I found riveting. An important and life affirming book about unbelonging.

H.D. FRASER - This is a fascinating autobiography by Miriam Frank. It takes the reader through a nomadic childhood as with her mother she flees Franco's Spain, then Vichy France to arrive in Mexico, and thence to New Zealand. In each new country adjustments of language and culture have to be made and the author feels a confusion of identity. After years of medical studies she enters a turbulent marriage with an artist and has two daughters. Eventually settled in London and widely respected in her area of anaesthetics, she realises that her roots travel with her. Now she knows who she is. The story is beautifully told and emotionally understated.

DOUGLAS PILBROW – Just excellent. Miriam Frank’s book is more than an exciting story. It’s also a masterful and insightful use of language. She is truly a remarkable person, with more than remarkable gifts.

FELICITY T WOOD – Breathtaking. Frank's descriptions are rich; from how New Zealanders wash dishes to the gruesome stories the elderly neighbor told her in Mexico, to the unbelievable challenges she survived as the wife of an addict. I really did have trouble putting the book down. Here is the tale of a multi-dimensional person traveling through so many countries; and seeking community in each. As an intelligent, observant "outsider" in each place, Frank is able to relay a skeptical, yet appreciative look at Israel, London, Christchurch, Italy, Argentina and others. At the same time she gauges her own transformation and growth in each context in a skillful and compelling narrative. "In my dream," she writes in one passage, "I felt at ease in territory that was, in reality, out of my reach." Yet the author learns to incorporate lessons from all those territories within her, developing her own deep sense of ease.