“What we so coldly call ‘acculturation’ is a major theme of Helen Epstein’s rich and absorbing new book, Where She Came From. In the guise of a family memoir, she brilliantly evokes Jewish life in the Czech lands... Epstein is unsparing in her examination of the trials of transplantation, and unlike many family biographers, who are in thrall to their characters, she steps out of the frame to observe herself.” —Ruth Gay, New York Times Book Review
“In Epstein’s expert and sensitive hands, truth becomes not only stranger than fiction, but more magnetic, wise and powerful.” — Gloria Steinem
“Helen Epstein’s literary pilgrimage to her past will enrich our quest for memory and understanding. Written with her superb talent of storytelling, her tale is profoundly human.” — Elie Wiesel
Born in Prague in 1947, Helen Epstein grew up in New York City, where she graduated from Hunter College High School in 1965. She studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and became a journalist after the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968 when her personal account was published in the Jerusalem Post. She became a university correspondent for that newspaper while still an undergraduate. Subsequently, she studied at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and began freelancing for diverse publications including the New York Times.
Her profiles of legendary musicians such as Vladimir Horowitz, Leonard Bernstein and Yo-Yo Ma are collected in Music Talks that, like Children of the Holocaust and Where She Came From, has been translated into several other languages. She herself is the translator of Heda Kovály's Under A Cruel Star and Vlasta Schönová's Acting in Terezín. Her biographies of Joseph Papp and Tina Packer grew out of her journalistic work. She has an active speaking career and has lectured at a wide variety of venues in Europe, and North and South America. She blogs for The Arts Fuse, a New England cultural web site.