Rachel Hall’s short stories and essays have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies including Black Warrior Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gettysburg Review, Fifth Wednesday and New Letters, which awarded her the Alexander Cappon Prize for Fiction. She has received other honors and awards from Lilith, Glimmer Train , the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Ragdale, the Ox-Bow School of the Arts, and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. Hall is a Professor of English in the creative writing program at the State University of New York at Geneseo where she holds the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She lives in Rochester, New York with her husband and daughter. Her family’s wartime papers and photographs, the inspiration for these stories, were recently donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
"Heirlooms is a fascinating series of interconnected stories about members of an extended family of Jews before, during and long after the Holocaust, in France, in Israel, in the United States. Different women and men define themselves in resistance, denial and ignorance of history through four generations . . . In some ways the entire book is a meditation on the meaning of family and history." —Marge Piercy, author of Sex Wars: A Novel of Gilded-Age New York and Three Women
"Heirlooms is a masterful collection, infused with devastating beauty. Focusing her precise artistry on the chaos of war, Rachel Hall succeeds in animating loss, preserving memory, and adding powerful imaginative truth to the historical record." —Joanna Scott, author of De Potter’s Grand Tour
"Heirlooms is an exquisite and thrilling collection. In fearless and incandescent prose, Rachel Hall traces the fragile resilience and quiet horrors of those displaced by war. She happens to be writing about the Second World War, but these are stories that speak to the essential human experiences of exile and loss and survival. Heirlooms captures what it is to be a refugee, and an immigrant, with a delicacy and precision that delights and haunts." —Steve Almond, author of God Bless America and The Evil B. B. Chow & Other Stories
"In Heirlooms, Rachel Hall has built an irresistible and gem-lit kaleidoscope, capturing within it the intricate, ephemeral private moments of women and men fleeing wartime violence, neighbors who bear witness or turn away, and children who carry the legacies. Each turn brings another vital angle, another dimension: Hall’s vision crosses borders and generations, through language at once lyrical and deeply distilled. Heirlooms is a beautiful, transporting, and necessary book." —Nancy Reisman author of Trompe L’Oeil and The First Desire
“This beautiful book quietly and deftly weaves together the tales of neighbors, lovers, spouses, and children to add something remarkable to the ever-expanding shelf of Holocaust narratives: how life continues in its complexity even in times of extremity and distress, and how women’s desires—for love, children, dignity, and more—can spark actions whose repercussions will be felt down through generations.” —Michael Lemberger, Lilith