The Woman in the Photograph
The Search for My Mother’s Past
By Mani Feniger
For decades, Mani Feniger ran from the German-Jewish past that had haunted her stoic mother. It wasn’t until the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the discovery of a startling photograph, that Mani Feniger began to unearth the secrets and passions of her mother’s former life.
From Berkeley, California to New York City, and finally to Leipzig, Germany, The Woman in the Photograph traces Mani’s twenty-year journey across continents and lifetimes. Her surprising, beautifully written memoir reads like a detective story. It will stir your curiosity and make you wonder about the man or woman in your own photographs and how your life has been influenced by events you know little about.
This is an eloquent account of a daughter’s transformative journey into the heart of her mother’s hidden life. It will resonate deeply with anyone who has ever wondered about a parent’s untold stories.
– Elizabeth Rosner, author of The Speed of Light and Blue Nude
Mani’s evocative book unfolds like a mystery. The story has a heartbeat as she uncovers the power of secrets. I found myself rooting for her and her mother.
– Sue Bender, author of Plain and Simple and Everyday Sacred
Mani did such an amazing job of transporting me into her mother’s world that I had to remind myself several time that this was not a novel. Thank you for sharing this important historical truth with us.
–Deborah Layton, author of Seductive Poison
Excerpt from the Prologue and Photos
. . .I was stunned by the image of my mother, Alice, in a white evening gown. The light from across the room illuminates the soft tiers of silk that drape across her knee, brushing her ankle just above the narrow strap of her tapered shoe. Everything about her is graceful—her carefully shaped eyebrow, the playful curl of her hair against her cheek, her painted lips just on the verge of a smile, and the sparkle of gemstones that circle her throat.
The woman in this photograph is not my mother, I thought. I recognized her proud profile; otherwise she bore little resemblance to the person I had known all my life. . .
. . .My mother never showed me this photograph, taken in Germany in the early 1930s. It was in a dusty envelope my brother found in the back of her closet. Although I had once steered as far away as I could from my mother’s past, the image ignited a spark inside me, an urgency to know more about the person who had such a profound effect on my life. Long after her passing, the omissions in her story still haunt me. What happened to her? Why didn’t she tell me? Who is the woman in the photograph?
Interviews and Videos
Radio Interview on Sunday Magazine with Liz Saint John (click here)
Radio Interview on Women’s Magazine KPFA (click here)
Radio Interview on Author’s Corner (click here)
Video Pegasus Books Intro
Video “The Enneagram and Vulnerability”
MAY 13, 2014
Tuesday, May 13 7pm
SECRETS AND REVELATIONS: Reclaiming Our Lost Families
Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis St., San Francisco, CA 94115 415.567.3327
Monday, September 30 7pm
Panel: HOW MEMOIR WRITING CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Kensington Library 61 Arlington, Kensington, CA
Tuesday, October 22 7pm
Mani Feniger speaking on “The Woman in the Photograph” and her recent trip to Germany
Belvedere-Tiburon Library 1501 Tiburon Blvd. Tiburon, CA
Sunday, August 26 6pm
LITQUAKE PALO ALTO LITERARY FESTIVAL
Panel: Memoir: Writing Past Your Comfort Zone
Palo Alto Oshman Family JCC
Wednesday, September 12 7pm
1760 Fourth Street
Wednesday, September 19 6:30 pm
NORTH BERKELEY LIBRARY
1170 The Alameda
Berkeley, CA 510 981-6250
Sunday, October 14 1 pm
51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera, CA
Monday, October 15 12:30 pm
1267 Marin Avenue
Albany, CA 510.526.3720
Wednesday, October 17 7 pm
AQUARIAN MINYAN AUTHOR SERIES
Saint John’s Presbyterian Church
2727 College Ave. in Berkeley, CA
Buy the Woman in the Photograph at:
PEGASUS BOOKS in North Berkeley
BOOKS INC in Berkeley
AFIKOMEN JUDAICA in Berkeley
BOOK PASSAGE in Corte Madera
THE CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSEUM in San Francisco
You may also order THE WOMAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH from your local bookseller.