In "Kvetch," concert pianist-turned-journalist Greta Beigel looks back, sometimes in horror, often with humor at (dysfunctional) Jewish family life lived under the umbrella of apartheid in South Africa, circa the '50s and '60s. While her memoir chronicles Orthodox Jewry's responses to events during that shameful era, it also explores the rituals, customs--and delicious foods associated with a rich cultural heritage. However, danger remains omnipresent. A child piano prodigy then teen concert performer Greta lives at the mercy of a superambitious matriarch, desperate for entree into Jewish Society. With violence never far--and following a failed marriage to a nice Jewish doctor--Greta faces a choice: Stay in Africa and surely die--or flee to California and create anew. She chooses life. The story moves to Los Angeles, where the author metamorphoses into a music journalist, soon covering the arts for the Los Angeles Times, and joy upon joy interviewing music luminaries such as Van Cliburn, Murray Perahia, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christian Tetzlaff, to name a few. But always in the background a dark familial figure hovers...
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