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by Marion Cuba

212 pages
Estranged daughter learns her mother was in WWII Shanghai Jewish ghetto.

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Category: Fiction:Historical
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About the Book
During the Nazi era, nearly 20,000 Jews sought safety in the unlikely haven of Shanghai-the one place that would have them without a visa.

Shanghai Legacy by Marion Cuba, a novel of historical fiction, chronicles this pocket of time-1938-1945. The book weaves actual events with an imagined mother-daughter drama of dark secrets, generational conflict, and the search for love and fulfillment.

The fictional Hannah, like many Jews at the time, is forced to flee an affluent life in Berlin to the squalor of Shanghai. She endures a harrowing adolescence, marries young, and finally makes it to America. There she starts her own family.

At Hannah's death, her adult daughter, Maya, now a New York suburban empty-nester, perceives her mother as distant and severe, even cruel-until a German diary shows up. It reveals the courageous choices and sacrifices the young Hannah had to make in the Jewish settlement of Shanghai.

Thus begins an emotional odyssey that forces Maya to re-examine her own complacent life-her marriage to an often-absent husband, her neglected career as a sculptor, her outworn child-centered existence, and, most significantly, her harsh view of her mother. She has choices Hannah never had, Maya realizes after twenty-five years as a dutiful wife and mother. Is she daring enough to reach for them?

Based on years of research, Shanghai Legacy dramatizes how a survivor's secret hardships affect-and afflict-the next generation. The novel crosscuts between the Shanghai ghetto with its filthy alleys, constant hunger, and struggle to contemporary Manhattan with its vibrant culture, unique glamour, and endless possibility.

A Reading Guide at the back of the book provides discussion questions for this lesser-known, provocative chapter of the Holocaust.



About the Author
Marion Cuba Marion Cuba has worked as a writer in advertising, promotion, and nonprofit fundraising. She served as editor of the New York Chapter of Hadassah Newsletter and, for many years, as an Adult Literacy Tutor. She attended Brandeis University and the University of Michigan, earning a B.A. in English.



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