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Imprint: A Memoir of Trauma in the Third Generation

By Claire Sicherman

Published by Caitlin Press, 2017
978-1-987915-57-0 / 1-987915-57-7, Paperback, 5.5" x 8", 224 pages, Paperback price: $22.95

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"Claire Sicherman's debut, Imprint, is an honest, raw, experimental epistolary narrative about inherited intergenerational trauma--oftentimes a lyrical account of ancestral memory, this is a story about the body, and the bodies from which a body comes...There is no way Imprint will not imprint itself upon every single person who decides to read it."  

- Sarah Elizabeth Schantz, author of Fig

"This thoughtful book is a powerful and helpful read for anyone dealing with the consequences of a painful past."

- Robert Krell, MD, Founding President, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

"In interwoven lists, letters to Ben, journal entries, memoir and story, Sicherman examines and then interrogates her family history and her own experience in that sharp and beautiful way that only writers who work in the spaces between genre can do."

- Sarah Hahn Campbell, author of Grief Map 

Imprint is a profound and courageous exploration of trauma, family, and the importance of breaking silence and telling stories. This book is a fresh and startling combination of history and personal revelation.

When her son almost died at birth and her grandmother passed away, something inside of Claire Sicherman snapped. Her body, which had always felt weighed down by unknown hurt, suddenly suffered from chronic health conditions, and her heart felt cleaved in two. Her grief was so large it seemed to encompass more than her own lifetime, and she became determined to find out why.

Sicherman grew up reading Anne Frank and watching Schindler’s List with almost no knowledge of the Holocaust’s impact on her specific family. Though most of her ancestors were murdered in the Holocaust, Sicherman’s grandparents didn’t talk about their trauma and her mother grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia completely unaware she was even Jewish. Now a mother herself, Sicherman uses vignettes, epistolary style, and other unconventional forms to explore the intergenerational transmission of trauma, about the fact that genes can be altered and carry memories, which are then passed down—a genetic imprinting.

With astounding grace and strength, Sicherman weaves together a story that not only honours her ancestors but offers the truth to the next generation and her now nine-year-old son. A testimony of the connections between mind and body, the past and the present, Imprint is devastatingly beautiful—ultimately a story of love and survival.