Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Freebie: "The History of History" by Ida Hattemer-Higgins

Congratulations to Doni Molony, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, The Great White Bear: A Natural and Unnatural History of the Polar Bear by Kieran Mulvaney.

This week's book giveaway goes from the polar regions of the globe to the equally-cold realm of the Holocaust.  The History of History by Ida Hattemer-Higgins is a new novel from Alfred A. Knopf which The Guardian has called "extravagantly ambitious, wide-ranging in reference, and written with real flair."  Here's the blurb from the publisher:
       A young woman named Margaret stumbles one morning from a forest outside Berlin, hands dirty, clothes torn.  She can remember nothing of the night in the woods, nor—she soon realizes—anything of the previous months.  She returns home to her former life.
       Two years later, she receives a letter from a mysterious doctor, who summons her to an appointment, claiming to be concerned for her fate.  Margaret keeps the appointment, but when she leaves the doctor’s office, the entire city is transformed.  Nazi ghosts manifest as preening falcons; buildings turn to flesh; reality itself wheels.
       This is the story of Margaret’s race to recover her lost history—the night in the forest, and the chasm that opened in her life as a result.  Awash in guilt, careening toward a shattering revelation, Margaret finds her personal amnesia resonating more and more clamorously with a nation’s criminal past, as she struggles toward an awakening that will lead her through madness to the truth, and to the unanswerable agony of her own actions.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of The History of History, all you have to do is answer this question:

According to this list of 25 Things About Ida (which was originally posted to Facebook), how many languages does the author speak?

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  The contest closes at midnight on Jan. 27, at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Jan. 28.

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