Troubador Invisible Ink

Released: 28/01/2021

ISBN: 9781800460386

eISBN: 9781800467620

aISBN: 9781800467736

Format: Paperback/eBook/Audio Book

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Invisible Ink

A Family Memoir


Martha’s parents were both extraordinary people living in extraordinary times. Ralph was a brilliant, poor Jew from the East End. Edith, also Jewish from a bourgeois family in Central Europe was a gifted pianist. They met as students in Paris in 1937 and were separated by the war. Their intimate, emotional and sometimes humorous correspondence throughout the war led to marriage in 1945. Each bore scars. She, from escaping the Nazis, he from childhood tragedy. Overshadowing them both was a secret that burdened Ralph for most of his life. After the war he became the world expert on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Edith devoted herself to her piano, performing and teaching. Invisible Ink is a compassionate, astute and ultimately uplifting portrait of their relationship.

The author has also unearthed many other stories: her uncle’s heroism and pioneering work in medicine, her grandmother and cousin’s miraculous escapes from the holocaust. These are threads entwined in the greater tapestry of social and political history of the twentieth century. In discovering the truth about her family, Martha has also taken an inner journey towards understanding herself.

A meticulously crafted memoir. The turbulent history of 20th century Europe is the backdrop for Martha Leigh’s complex and engaging account of her family, a story of suspense, danger and revelation.

by Ruth Cornell

This is a most remarkable book. An investigation of the hidden and obscure genealogies of the author’s distinguished parents, it becomes an enthralling account of their experiences of the Second World War, the holocaust, cultural identity and physical dislocation, heroism and, at its heart, an epic love story. This is both a primary source, since Martha Leigh is keeper of the extensive family archives, and a work of history which offers new light on the Régime de Vichy, La Résistance, daring rescues and escapes from both the Nazis and the Soviets (as well as the Swiss!), the experiences of a budding concert pianist in war-ravaged Europe, and developments in post-war medical science. This brilliant writing conveys painful and intimate details of her parents’ lives with compassion yet an air of detachment, which makes the narrative all the more moving. Summing up the effect on the family of her father’s homosexuality, Martha Leigh writes, ‘it was better for us both to have an unspoken understanding’. Unspoken, perhaps, but this book is a compelling exploration of the human condition.

Curtis Price

by Curtis Price

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