Between Gods

Man Booker Prize finalist Alison Pick's memoir delves into family secrets and her struggle to reconnect with her Jewish heritage.

Alison Pick

Alison Pick was born in the 1970s and raised in a supportive, loving family. Then, as a teenager, Alison made a discovery that instantly changed her understanding of her family, and her vision for her own life, forever. She learned that her Pick grandparents, who had escaped from the Czech Republic during WWII, were Jewish — and that most of this side of the family had died in concentration camps. She also discovered that her own father had not known of this history until, in his twenties, he had a chance encounter with an old family friend — and then he, too, had kept the secret from Alison and her sister.

In her early thirties, engaged to be married but struggling with a crippling depression, Alison began to research and uncover her Jewish heritage. Eventually she came to realize that her true path forward was to reclaim her history and identity as a Jew. But even then, one problem remained: her mother wasn't Jewish, so technically Alison wasn't either. In this memoir, Alison recounts her struggle with the meaning of her faith, her journey to convert to Judaism, her battle with depression, and her path towards facing and accepting the past and embracing the future — including starting a new family of her own. (From Doubleday Canada)

Alison Pick won the CBC Poetry Prize in 2005.

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

It was dark that year. I cried when Degan left for work in the mornings, terrified of the solitude I have relished my whole life. In my memory, I see myself standing on our back porch in a perpetual dusk, filling my lungs with smoke as though the base of some terrible chimney. In fact I know I kept rules for myself, smoking only one cigarette a day, or maybe one a week. Maybe I never smoked at all. But looking back, I remember one long smoking binge and an accompanying desire to be obliterated.

From Between Gods by Alison Pick ©2014. Published by Doubleday Canada.

Author interviews

Featured VideoAlison Pick speaks about her stunning new novel "Far to Go". It's the story of an affluent Jewish family living in Czechoslovakia during the build up of the Second World War.