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About The Book

A luminous new memoir from the author of the critically acclaimed national bestseller After Long Silence, The Escape Artist has been lauded by New York Times bestselling author Mary Karr as “beautifully written, honest, and psychologically astute. A must-read.”

In the tradition of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and George Hodgman’s Bettyville, Fremont writes with wit and candor about growing up in a household held together by a powerful glue: secrets. Her parents, profoundly affected by their memories of the Holocaust, pass on to both Helen and her older sister a zealous determination to protect themselves from what they see as danger from the outside world.

Fremont delves deeply into the family dynamic that produced such a startling devotion to secret keeping, beginning with the painful and unexpected discovery that she has been disinherited in her father’s will. In scenes that are frank, moving, and often surprisingly funny, She writes about growing up in such an intemperate household, with parents who pretended to be Catholics but were really Jews—and survivors of Nazi-occupied Poland. She shares tales of family therapy sessions, disordered eating, her sister’s frequently unhinged meltdowns, and her own romantic misadventures as she tries to sort out her sexual identity. Searching, poignant, and ultimately redemptive, The Escape Artist is a powerful contribution to the memoir shelf.

About The Author

© Mikki Ansin

In addition to The Escape Artist, Helen Fremont is the author of the national bestseller After Long Silence. Her works of fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, Ploughshares, and The Harvard Review. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she has been a teaching fellow at both Bread Loaf and the Radcliffe Institute. She worked as a public defender in Boston, where she now lives with her wife. You can find Helen online at


About The Reader

Gabra Zackman knows romance. Her clever and “thrilling romantic caper” (Library Journal) Bod Squad series was inspired by the more than one hundred romance and women’s fiction titles she has narrated for audio. She divides her time between her native New York City and Denver, Colorado.

Why We Love It

“Helen Fremont’s first book, the national bestseller After Long Silence, focused on her parents’ experiences as survivors of the Nazi occupation of Poland during the Second World War. In The Escape Artist, she revisits the terrain of family, focusing on her tumultuous relationship with her older sister and her strenuous efforts to keep the upheaval in their household at bay. Although the details of her story are unique, the universal landscape of childhood will have those of us with families—I’m pretty sure that covers all of us—nodding our heads in grateful recognition.” —Jackie C., Senior Editor, on The Escape Artist

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (February 11, 2020)
  • Runtime: 8 hours and 49 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797103105

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Raves and Reviews

"Even if you haven't read Fremont's preceding memoir, AFTER LONG SILENCE, this is an audiobook worth experiencing, one that stands memorably on its own. Narrator Gabra Zackman's deep, rich voice exudes a confidence and compassion that immediately capture the listener's attention and hold it as Fremont's account of a family full of secrets reveals itself. The honest ring of Zackman's performance is well suited to Fremont's clear-eyed recollections of family strife and personal struggles. Zackman's clarity and businesslike pace make the most of Fremont's compelling family history. Overall, her vocals notably complement the text. So, yes, you can appreciate this audiobook without having read its predecessor, but once you've heard this one, you'll likely want to go back and start at the beginning."

– Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award, AudioFile Magazine

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