Imprint:MiroLand - Hamilton
Dimensions:9in x 6 x 0.9 in | 1 gr
Page Count:290 pages
Posing the question: who packed the baggage we carry from birth?
Don’t Ask poses the question: who packed the suitcase we carry from birth? In this literary thriller, a woman agonizes over her mother’s suicide and is thrown into turmoil over her attraction to a German. Hannah Baran is 45, a successful Montreal real estate broker with a highly lucrative client who, like her parents, is a Holocaust survivor. Born in a German DP camp, she is the only child of Rokhl and the late Barak. One day, she arrives to take her mother to the doctor’s but Rokhl is gone, leaving behind a mystifying note that reads: I am not her. Throughout Hannah’s life, Rokhl’s notes have been all the guidance she received from a laconic, distant mother, a foil to Hannah’s voluble father who rescued Rokhl from Auschwitz. When Hannah announces that she must travel to Germany on business, Rokhl threatens that should Hannah ‘go to that land of murderers,’ it would be over her dead body. Three days later, Hannah locates her missing mother in the morgue. Secreted away in a confessional letter for Hannah to find one day is the story of Rokhl’s life filled with loss, betrayal, and guilt. It is woven into the intrigue of the plot about contested land and a love affair weighted down by the baggage of history.
The author of the short story collection, Tell Me a Story, Tell Me the Truth, and co-author of Midway to China and Beyond, the biography of a globetrotting Montreal businessman, Gina Roitman’s work has appeared in anthologies and magazines including Poetica, Wherever I Find Myself, the Forward and carte-blanche.
The story of Rokhl’s Holocaust experiences and that of Hannah’s budding relationship (and the weight of history that it and the real estate deal unearth) are enthralling and Don’t Ask is a hard book to put down until you finish it.- Cynthia Ramsay, Jewish Independent
Carefully and generously layered, Roitman’s novel, outwardly labelled as a literary thriller, is a powerful story of a daughter dealing with her mother’s death while reckoning with a family past so traumatic its truth is haunted by history. - Sharon Morrisey, Montreal Review of Books
Part mystery, part historical novel, part love story, Don’t Ask delves into a question that still resonates nearly 80 years after the end of the Holocaust: For how many generations does guilt continue? ... [Roitman, who] like Hannah was born to Jewish Holocaust survivors in a postwar displaced-persons camp, deserves credit for posing these challenges in such a readable narrative.- New York Journal of Books
It is not often that I read a book in one day. However, once I started the first few pages of Don’t Ask, I could not put it down. In fact it was hard for me to get around the fact this was fiction. Montreal and its neighbourhoods are well represented. We learn real facts about the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Outremont High School, Sam Borenstein’s paintings, the Hotel Bonaventure and more.- Mike Cohen, The Suburban