Frieda Arkin

Frieda Arkin's work has been twice selected for Best American Short Stories and her first novel, The Dorp, was published in 1969 to wide critical acclaim. She attended the Juilliard School of Music and received her Master's in anthropology from Columbia University. She has written five cookbooks, a gardening book, a number of poems, and articles for Woman's Day, The Christian Science Monitor, The Massachusetts Review, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, and Yankee magazine. Frieda Arkin's short stories have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts Review, The Kenyon Review, and The Yale Review. After a long hiatus from fiction, when she turned to raising a family and writing a series of cookbooks, Frieda joined the late Andre Dubus's writing group, prospering under his mentorship while completing Hedwig and Berti. She lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Hedwig and Berti Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9780312333560
Availability: Special Order
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - March 21st, 2006

Thirty-five years after publication of her first novel, The Dorp (followed by other works on cooking and gardening), Frieda Arkin returns to the world of fiction to give us another darkly humorous novel, Hedwig and Berti. Hedwig and Berti is a saga of the totally unlikely marriage of a grandly Teutonic woman, Hedwig Kessler, and her diminutive cousin Berti, two upper-class German Jews forced to leave their homeland during the rise of the Nazis. They flee to London, then to New York City, and from there, finally, to a university town in Kansas. In London, Hedwig gives birth to a daughter whose broodingly dark construction and immense genius for the piano point back in time to the tragedy of her bloodline. This is a story of prejudice taken to extremes, both within the domain of a severely class-conscious German-Jewish family and beyond it. The characters are subtle, and finely-honed, and their story is told with grace and unexpected humor. Like Penelope Fitzgerald, Frieda Arkin possesses a rare gift for combining love, wit, and dark realism in the reactions and behavior of her characters in the several cultures they are forced to adapt to.


Hedwig and Berti Cover Image
$23.95
ISBN: 9780312333546
Availability: Special Order
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - December 9th, 2004

Thirty-five years after publication of her first novel, The Dorp (followed by other works on cooking and gardening), Frieda Arkin returns to the world of fiction to give us another darkly humorous novel, Hedwig and Berti. Hedwig and Berti is a saga of the totally unlikely marriage of a grandly Teutonic woman, Hedwig Kessler, and her diminutive cousin Berti, two upper-class German Jews forced to leave their homeland during the rise of the Nazis. They flee to London, then to New York City, and from there, finally, to a university town in Kansas. In London, Hedwig gives birth to a daughter whose broodingly dark construction and immense genius for the piano point back in time to the tragedy of her bloodline. This is a story of prejudice taken to extremes, both within the domain of a severely class-conscious German-Jewish family and beyond it. The characters are subtle, and finely-honed, and their story is told with grace and unexpected humor. Like Penelope Fitzgerald, Frieda Arkin possesses a rare gift for combining love, wit, and dark realism in the reactions and behavior of her characters in the several cultures they are forced to adapt to.