A Life in Pieces by Blake Eskin
The Making and Unmaking of Binjamin Wilkomirski

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



A searing account of the rise and fall of the author of Fragments, told by a descendant of the Wilkomirskis of Riga. In 1997, Binjamin Wilkomirski came to New York to read from his prize-winning Holocaust memoir Fragments, raise money for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and meet his perhaps-relatives, the Wilburs (once Wilkomirskis). The Wilburs—and the world—embraced Binjamin as a humanitarian whose eloquent and haunting tale of childhood stood for untold others. A year later, however, Binjamin was publicly accused of being a gentile impostor. He insisted his memories outweighed the documents against him but proclaimed, "Nobody has to believe me." Wilbur family member Blake Eskin, the first American reporter to write about the questionable authenticity of Fragments, recounts the dispute through riveting reportage and memoir, interviewing Binjamin's acquaintances and visiting Riga in search of actual Wilkomirskis. The reactions of the media, the child-survivor community, and the Wilburs themselves shed light on debates about the reliability of memory, the nature of identity, and the uses and misuses of history. 8 b/w photographs.

About Blake Eskin

See more books from this Author
He has written for The New Yorker, the Forward. He lives in New York City.
Published February 1, 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Life in Pieces

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

The pathetic story of a self-proclaimed child survivor of the Holocaust upon whose story much doubt has been cast, crisply reported by journalist (and Wilkomirski family member) Eskin.

| Read Full Review of A Life in Pieces: The Making ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

While the frame of the book is a fascinating personal memoir/journalistic investigation (Eskin's family, immigrant Jews from Latvia, contact Wilkomirski thinking they might be related to him), the power of the work comes from the author's ability to marshal the central arguments over Wilkomirski'...

| Read Full Review of A Life in Pieces: The Making ...

Star Tribune

See more reviews from this publication

Eskin -- who has written for the New Yorker, Washington Post and Newsday -- didn't set out to write a book about Wilkomirski, who was raised in Switzerland as war orphan Bruno Doessekker.

Jun 08 2002 | Read Full Review of A Life in Pieces: The Making ...

Rate this book!

Add Review