TidePool Press

Publishers of Quality Non-Fiction

My City of Dreams
by Lisa Gruenberg

“The past is a foreign country, they say; sometimes best left unexplored. But in My City of Dreams Lisa Gruenberg takes the trip to recreate her father's Vienna and the events that exterminated his sister, his parents, and 65,000 other Austrian Jews. Gruenberg wields all the tools in the writer's armamentarium—memoir, fiction, dream journals and reportage—to rebuild the lost city of her past. This is the city we all live in, but very few of us have the courage to explore the crooked streets, the blind alleys, and uncharted byways of how we came to be who we are.”

—Alex Beam
author of Gracefully Insane:
Life and Death Inside America's Premier Mental Hospital

“When Gruenberg sets off to uncover what happened to her now elderly Austrian Jewish father during the Holocaust, she gains not only a deeper understanding about her father's past, but about her own growing up. This moving book is both expansive and personal: while it grapples with perhaps the most sweeping and incomprehensible crime in human history, it also takes a poignant look at the intimate and relatable story between one father and his daughter.”

—Jessamyn Hope
author of Safekeeping

“A heartfelt and authoritative contribution to the literature of memory and Jewish history.”

—Tony Eprile
author of The Persistence of Memory,
Temporary Sojourner & Other South African Stories

“This beautifully written book takes you from America to Vienna and back as it explores the meaning of the Holocaust, memory, mortality and life.”

—Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
University Distinguished Service, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Kennedy School
author of Do Morals Matter?
Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump

“Gruenberg's search for coherence becomes a journey of both discovery and imagination, and ultimately brings her to an understanding that proves also to be a form of healing. My City of Dreams is a gift—an honest and thoughtful book, beautifully written and full of compassion.”

—Jane Brox
author of Brilliant and Silence

My City of Dreams

Price: $28.00
Published in: 2019
• 392 pages
ISBN 978-0-9978482-8-1

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About Lisa Gruenberg

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In this carefully researched and hauntingly written memoir, Lisa Gruenberg not only records her own life, but also that of relatives long lost to darkness, terror, and murder. In dreamlike sequences she weaves known facts of the lives of those lost into tableaus of imagined family dinners, conversations and leisure activities set in the Vienna landscape. She especially brings back to life some of the girls and women whose fates remain largely unknown. Indeed, she embodies her aunt Mia as she walks in her shoes, sees with her eyes, and speaks with her voice. These flights into the past are presented within the framework of Gruenberg's own family, her husband and daughters, and her father. He escaped from Vienna in 1939 and shared few of his memories with her, and that only late in life when disease had beaten down his defenses against remembering.

The trauma and feeling of guilt often described in Holocaust survivors is reflected in this memoir, also the burden shared by so many of their children and grandchildren. At the same time, this tale is one of lightness and finding balance in all these difficulties and trials. There is an endless network of cousins and friends of cousins, one more colorful than the next. They are spread all over the world and Gruenberg seeks many of them out in her search for the past.

At the center stands author's ability to look at the truth unflinchingly, including truths apparent in herself. She shares her insights in all their nakedness, starkness and, yes, hilarity. This, together with the author's luminous prose, make My City of Dreams an important landmark in 21st century testimony of the Holocaust.