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Feinstein, Elaine

family jewish story

(British, 1930– )

Elaine Feinstein is of Ukrainian-Jewish descent, and her novels deal with family histories which stretch across Europe. She also writes poetry and has translated the Russian poet Marina Tsvetayeva. Start with The Border (1984), a story of obsessive love and betrayal among characters trying to escape from Vienna after the Nazi occupation. Mother's Girl (1988) draws upon Feinstein's interest in psychoanalysis and feminism. It tells of two half-sisters who discover the secrets of their family's past. One sister loves their father; the other hates him; the novel unfolds the family history from pre-war Budapest to London in the 1980s. Dreamers (1994), less successful than the shorter works, traces a Jewish family's story across several generations.

A. S. Byatt, Michèle Roberts  TT

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