Hats of Glass is a collection of short stories about the children of Holocaust survivors. This book tells the tale of the Second Generation which is ostensibly growing up in a world that has undergone a healing process. But in this world sons and daughters bear their parents' scars and cannot escape the torment of the past. In "A Personal Holocaust," Daphne undergoes a violent experience in London which turns into her own personal holocaust. Her mother had lost her first family in the Holocaust and the trauma takes the form of a reliving of her mother's tragedy. In "Music Doesn't Cover," a young German woman named Veronica falls in love with an Israeli, the son of Holocaust survivors. She chooses to identify with the victims and confronts the past courageously. In the final story "Epilogue," a young Israeli woman visits the death camp of Auschwitz and encounters a Holocaust survivor who decides to return to the site where he had lost everyone he loved forty years earlier. He says, "There a great darkness emerged. They say time heals. They say I will be healed. I am grateful for the sun and the new light, but on the heads of my children, my anguish and torment sit like a hat of glass."
Semel describes with great literary excellence the special problems of the “second generation," the children of Holocaust survivors.
The legacy of pain: Semel powerfully recounts the experiences suffered by her parents, describing her experiences as a child who grew up in this atmosphere her entire life.
Los Angeles Times
These texts are heartrending and dramatic… Literature of this kind is like a “fire burning in the beacon of the world,” in David Grossman’s words. That same fire burns through the pages of one of the most interesting authors of the second generation of Holocaust survivors, Nava Semel... Their anguish sits on their heads like “a hat of glass.”
English translation available (for publishers ony)