The Corset Maker


Product Details

$19.95  $18.55
Amsterdam Publishers
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 1.0 inches | 1.44 pounds

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About the Author

Annette Libeskind Berkovits is an American author, poet, and scientist. Despite being uprooted from country to country, Berkovits has channeled her passions into language study and writing. She has published short stories, a poetry collection, Erythra Thalassa: Brain Disrupted; a historical novel, The Corset Maker, and three memoirs: In the Unlikeliest of Places: How Nachman Libeskind Survived the Nazis, Gulags and Soviet Communism; Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator, and Aftermath: Coming of Age on Three Continents.


The Corset Maker is a tale of the twentieth century that celebrates human resilience. It is an enchanting, resonant novel inspired by the life of Dora Libeskind and seen through the eyes of Rifka. Berkovits weaves a story of a quintessential rebel in times of global crisis and war. Threads of Nazism, antisemitism, and sexism make for a compelling, fast-paced narrative that sees a young heroine navigate the world in search of her destiny.

-Daniel Libeskind, architect; Founder Studio Daniel Libeskind; Author of a dozen books including Breaking Ground and Edge of Order; Berlin and New York

Annette Libeskind Berkovits has made central moments of twentieth century history come alive. An Orthodox Jewish girl rebels against her family and becomes an entrepreneur only to face antisemitism. She travels to Palestine and Spain and France, each time to survive more violence. Love and violence are at the core of this extraordinary novel. Berkovits fills history with romance.

-John J. Clayton, award-winning author of literary fiction and short story collections. His stories have won prizes in O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. Clayton's novels include Kuperman's Fire, What Are Friends For, and Mitzvah Man; Leverett, MA

The Corset Maker begins in the fall of 1930. Nationalism is surfacing as Europe teeters. In Warsaw Poland 12-year-old Rifka Berg asks her beloved Ultra-Orthodox father why girls don't have bar mitzvas. His answer brings about an epiphany that changes the course of her life. Thus begins Rifka's life's journey: continents will be crossed, wars will be won, and others lost, there will be love and there will be unspeakable genocide. Even Rifka's name and identity must change for her to survive, but Rifka's search for the truth of experience, for the very meaning of life and her place in it will never wane. Timely and more relevant to today than is comfortable. This is the journey of the hero in the truest sense of Joseph Campbell.

-Jim Cooper, advertising photographer and author, Funeral in Montauk; Mosfellsbær, Iceland

With her eloquent and captivating writing Annette Berkovits transports one to the riveting saga of survival, resilience, and ingenuity of a young woman from Warsaw, Poland. Set mainly in the twists and turns of the first half of 20th-century Europe, The Corset Maker ignites the reader's imagination of history and brings to life the hard choices and challenges facing young people during that time. The story concludes with an unexpected ending in the last decade of the century. I simply could not put the book down.

-Zvi Jankelowitz, Director of Institutional Advancement, Yiddish Book Center; Massachusetts

A vivid narrative that poses an urgent and universal question: how to survive as a woman while balancing personal responsibility, solidarity, and pacifist ideals. Readers first meet The Corset Maker as she rebels against her Orthodox Jewish upbringing in inter-war Warsaw, striking out for independence with her friend to open a corsetiere's shop. The departure of her elder sister to join Jewish settlers in Palestine and the arrival of Nazism in Poland combine to send her on an odyssey through Israel and Europe during the cataclysms of the mid-20th century. As she encounters danger and suffering and the anguish of an impossible love she is plunged into political and personal conflict. She is constantly forced by circumstances to question and challenge her own deeply held principles, yet her resilience and commitment to the welfare of others continually shine through the darkest moments.

-Maybelle Wallis, MD, author Heart of Cruelty; Wexford, Ireland