SELECTED BOOKS

The history of some 30 Russian Jewish immigrant families who in 1907 began to buy land in the Ellsworth Hills above Sharon, CT, where they attempted to become dairy farmers.
Three generations of strong-­minded Rosens have gone their own ways, repairing the world while keeping a safe distance from each other, when Peter Rosen, a widowed refugee from Nazi Germany and retired German professor, takes a bad fall in the snow and a call from Spooner Street prompts his estranged daughter, Marlene Rosen, to spend a long stretch in Madison with her ailing but difficult father.
Ten-year-old Eva Hoffman's family, Austrian refugees, have found precarious safety in Topeka, Kansas. It is 1951, the year of the landmark desegregation case. As the rising river inundates the town, the Hoffman's open their home to refugees from the flood, and Eva learns the complexities of prejudice - and courage - both within and outside her family.
Memoir
"A second generation chronicle that offers rich intellectual insights while stiring our deepest feelings." Leo Spitzer, author of Hotel Bolivia "Pursing her story across two continents, Ascher, the daughter of a Vienese psychoanalyst, explores the unsettling legacy of Nazi persecution on her complicated immigrant family and ultimately on herself, in this probing, well-written memoir." - Alix Kates Shulman

More From Carol Ascher

A Call From Spooner St.

Three generations of strong-­minded Rosens have gone their own ways, repairing the world while keeping a safe distance from each other, when Peter Rosen, a widowed refugee from Nazi Germany and retired German professor, takes a bad fall in the snow and a call from Spooner Street prompts his estranged daughter, Marlene Rosen, to spend a long stretch in Madison with her ailing but difficult father.

Emergencies that bring Marlene repeatedly to Spooner Street become a chance to let go of old bitterness and wounds and rekindle the love she has for her father. A final visit from her son, Noah, who has been living in Namibia, instigates a new level of honesty, as well as love, between all three Rosens.

My father, Paul Bergman, a charming but moody Viennese Jew, died suddenly of a massive heart attack when he was only fifty-nine. Six months before his death, in a fit of rage at what he considered my irresponsible behavior, he had stopped speaking to me. For decades his judgmental silence, which death had turned endless, lay over me like a condemnation that even years of therapy could not entirely ease.

In 2009, I decided to imagine the father-daughter reconciliation I had never had through one of my favorite forms, the novel. Most important, I would create in fiction the much needed forgiveness my own father’s curtailed life had precluded.

Like my father, Peter Rosen is an intellectual who fled the Nazis, and, like my father, Peter has a doctorate in German literature, though Peter, who was born ten years later, fled Germany to earn his doctorate in England. But it is my uncle, Gerard Ascher, whose story of being arrested as an enemy alien in England and sent to spend World War II in a prisoner of war camp near Quebec, Canada, I have given in simplified form to Peter Rosen.

In addition to details that are part of my family’s history, A CALL FROM SPOONER STREET includes characters I have made up and scenes I have imagined. Most important, this work of fiction is my gift of healing to myself—though I hope that it will also bring healing to my readers.