My Innocent Absence

My Innocent Absence

When five-year-old Mirian boards the Serpia Pinto in 1941, she is unaware that she and her mother Kate are escaping the round-ups, separations and extermination camps of Nazi Germany. By the age of 12, Miriam has fled two wars and lived in three continents. Gradually understanding her own history, she begins to train as a doctor at the tender age of 16 and eventually returns to Europe, where she settles in London and marries a German artist, former assistant to Oscar Kokoschka. An elegantly written memoir of a truly fascinating life.

‘Frank reviews the period with a fresh eye. This is truly a new story …’ Independent

‘Her voyages, spelt out in her new memoirs, have nothing to do with the Paul Theroux school of travel writing … They became the real life characters at Rick’s Café in Casablanca' Camden New Journal

‘A dramatic and quite gripping autobiography' Buenos Aires Herald

My Innocent Absence, full of lovely, tactile detail, is the story of a peripatetic life’ Jewish Quarterly

'Miriam Frank's history-enforced peregrinations are extraordinary, but much more extraordinary yet is the inner struggle, the quality of the quest and her enquiry into human behaviour.' Kapka Kassabova

‘I found it atmospheric and, most important, I wanted to read more’ Carmen Callil

‘Elegantly written and fascinating’ Fay Weldon
‘A poignant and beautifully written saga of migrations, which punctuates the history of our times …’ Moris Farhi
‘It isn’t surprising that physicians often make excellent writers – they are trained to observe. Miriam Frank is one of that great line of physicians turned writers that includes Chekhov, Maugham and Keats. In Miriam’s case the flawless professionalism of the surgery flows seamlessly into flawless prose that has echoes of Lawrence and Proust. This book thoroughly emerges the reader in the human condition from birth to death and back again’ Edward Wilson
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17 Jun 2010
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About the author

  • Miriam Frank

    Miriam Frank was born in Barcelona and grew up in France, Mexico and New Zealand, where she graduated in medicine. She returned to Europe, obtained her London Fellowship in anaesthesia, married a German artist and former assistant to Kokoschka and was offered the post of senior lecturer and consultant at the Royal London Hospital where she worked until her retirement. Concurrently with her medical work, she helped her husband establish a summer art school in Italy. She moved from scientific writing to more literary forms with her translation of works by Latin American and Spanish authors, and now dedicates her time to her own writing in her homes in London, Italy and Greece. She is the author of My Innocent Absence: Tales from a Nomadic Life,which has received high praise at home and abroad. Its  sequel, The Unfinished Portrait, is scheduled for publication in 2015.

    Titles by Miriam Frank