Meine Filiale


A Memoir

Deborah Feldman

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The author of the explosive New York Times bestselling memoir Unorthodox (now a Netflix limited series) chronicles her continuing journey as a single mother, an independent woman, and a religious refugee.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three, Deborah Feldman walked away from the rampant oppression, abuse, and isolation of her Satmar upbringing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to forge a better life for herself and her young son. Since leaving, Feldman has navigated remarkable experiences: raising her son in the "real" world, finding solace and solitude in a writing career, and searching for love. Culminating in an unforgettable trip across Europe to retrace her grandmother's life during the Holocaust, Exodus is a deeply moving exploration of the mysterious bonds that tie us to family and religion, the bonds we must sometimes break to find our true selves.

"One woman's search to understand herself and her Jewish heritage....Rich in details of Jewish life and the lives of her grandparents in the World War II era, [Feldman] sensitively portrays the inner struggles of accepting the pervasive feeling of survivor guilt and her own desires to understand the woman she was becoming. Feldman juxtaposes painfully emotional moments in concentration camps and in European towns where evidence of Jewish settlers was practically erased with humorous, almost macabre playacting scenarios with a German lover, scenarios that only added to Feldman's confusion over her own identity. The overall effect is captivating, entertaining and informative, providing readers with an honest assessment of the strength of one's convictions and the effect a strict religious background can have on a person. An enthralling account of how one Orthodox Jewish woman turned her back on her religion and found genuineness and validity in her new life."-Kirkus

"Feldman's journey is undeniably and explicitly Jewish, but the aching need to find both a welcoming community and a sense of individuality is one that readers from all walks of life will be able to identify with. Those left unsatisfied with the abrupt ending to Unorthodox will enjoy the more hopeful conclusion to Feldman's second book as well as her more mature and increasingly eloquent writing style."-Booklist

"Overall, Exodus is a satisfying sequel to Unorthodox, which shows how Deborah Feldman went on to the next step after getting her own freedom from the bonds of a strictly insular society....[a] chronicle of a continuing journey of self-discovery...There are many satisfying finds and revelations along the road, but there are also plenty of bumps, frustrations, disappointments and pitfalls, which is expected when one spends their formative years being closed off from the rest of the outside world, and is confined to the boundaries of a Brooklyn neighborhood....this book is more about the liberation of Deborah Feldman, and how she copes with this newfound sense of freedom and self-discovery, that can be a shock to some, or a declaration of independence for others."
-Stuart Nulman, Montreal Times

"In her first memoir, Unorthodox, Feldman made the courageous choice to cut off ties with her family and the Satmar community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn...Now a divorced woman in her 20s, Feldman chronicles the next phase of her life in her new book [Exodus]....a quest of self-discovery...Some of the most powerful scenes come when Feldman retraces the path of her female ancestors in Hungary and confronts the anti-Semitism of contemporary Europe....Feldman ultimately discovers that her rightful place is wherever she happens to be."
-The New York Times Book Review

Deborah Feldman was raised in the Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She now lives with her son in New England.


Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 304
Erscheinungsdatum 24.02.2015
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-14-218185-0
Verlag Penguin LCC US
Maße (L/B/H) 20.3/13.4/2.7 cm
Gewicht 261 g
Verkaufsrang 7856


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  • This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.
    Copyright © 2014 by Deborah Feldman


    There she is, just across the street, sulking on the stoop. Seven years old, skin pale almost to the point of translucence, lips pursed into a sullen pout. She stares gloomily at the silver Mary Janes on her feet, the tips of which catch the last rays of sunlight quickly fading behind the three-story brownstone.

    She has been scrubbed and primped in preparation for Passover, soon to arrive. Her hair hurts where it's been pulled too tight into a bun at the top of her head. She feels each strand stretching from its inflamed follicle, especially at the nape of her neck, where an early-spring breeze raises goose bumps on the exposed skin. Her hands are folded into the lap of her brand-new purple dress, with peonies and violets splashed wildly on the fabric, smocking at the chest, and a sash tied around the waist. There are new white tights stretched over her thin legs.

    This little side street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, usually bustling with black-clad men carrying prayer books, is momentarily silent and empty, its residents indoors making preparations for the evening. The little girl has managed to sneak away in the rush, to sit alone across from the young pear tree the neighbors planted a few years ago after carving out a square of beige dirt in the stretch of lifeless asphalt. Now it f lowers gently, bulbous white blossoms dangling precariously from its boughs.

    I cross the street toward her. No cars come. The silence is magnificent, enormous. She doesn't seem to notice me approaching, nor does she look up when I sit down next to her on the stoop. I look at her face and know instantly, with the pain of a punch to the gut, exactly how long it's been since there was a smile on it.

    I put my arm around her shoulder, ever so gently, as if she might break from the weight, and I whisper into her ear, "Everything is going to be fine."

    She turns and looks at me for the first time, her face a mask of distrust.

    "It's going to be just fine. I promise."

    Snap. The hypnotherapist wakes me by clicking her fingers together in a classic stage move.

    "You did good," she says. "Go home and try to have sex tonight. Let me know what happens. I have a feeling we've fixed the problem. Not completely, but enough for now."

    I get out of the chair, feeling dizzy and disoriented. The little girl in the purple dress recedes rapidly from my memory, even as I grasp for her in my wakeful state. What did we talk about? I can't remember. Did she tell us anything? Does the doctor know something about my past now, something that I don't?

    Never mind. The important thing is, did it really work?

    It's been a year since my husband and I crossed the threshold into our new home and our new life, only to discover that our most important purpose as a couple could not be fulfilled: procreation. Repeated attempts and numerous medical opinions have only served to confuse us further; it's as if a wall has been erected inside me. Could this be the miracle cure I've been waiting for? Will I really be able to go home tonight and finally consummate my marriage?------

    I often wonder why I went back to that day, when the hypnotherapist instructed me to find some version of my childhood self to reassure. It's always the child lurking within us that rebels, that sulks, that angrily demands our attention. On that day, however, I was quiet and internal. Everyone around me was caught up in their work, and I was allowed to move about, feeling temporarily forgotten. It was not a moment of great injury.

    But someone had photographed me earlier. I remember posing in the garden, being coaxed and prodded into a portrait of pleasantness. I saw the photo some years later, and in it I was cringing as if afraid. My brow was furrowed and my shoulders were raised in a gua