Alba Arikha’s memoir Major/Minor, now in paperback, is receiving rave reviews as her talent for writing, on top of her other natural gifts as singer/songwriter, makes her book stand out, in a class of its own.
Her father, Avigdor Arikha, a painter who hob-knobbed with the international art elite but refused to associate with the bourgeoisie of his time, was interned in a Rumanian concentration camp in 1941 and still rebuffed the notion to associate with former camp inmates if they weren’t on his intellectual level.
As a result, his relationship with his daughter was an extremely difficult one which caused her to rebel and to assert her identity by challenging him. However, she writes fondly of visits and gifts from her godfather, Samuel Beckett. The Sunday Herald described her memoir as ‘a vivid account of a stormy adolescence and a revealing insight into being the child of a holocaust survivor.’
For those who have not had a copy of her book when it was first published in hardback in 2005, now is their chance to secure one as they can ill afford to discard a gem of a book which I am sure will remain a classic, despite the vicissitudes of time.