It meant a lot to me because my sister and I don’t have much family. We have three cousins in America and that’s it. It’s also about not having an identity—feeling neither Irish nor Belgian. I owned these seven memoirs written by family members that served as the basis for the book, and lots of photos, so I felt I had a duty to put this story together.
But writing it also made me feel much more connected to my transgenerational inheritance, to the fact that I am the great-granddaughter of a schnapps bar owner in Vienna. Now I am going to write about the other side of my family, which is Irish. The two books will be a diptych. Maybe I’ll feel incredibly Irish after I’m done with that, but I don’t think it’ll be quite the same. For me, being Jewish is also about this feeling of not belonging anywhere, or of belonging in many places.
The book, according to the author