The final reminder : How I Emptied My Parents’ house

Souvenir Press, 2005, translated by Elfreda Powell

This taboo-breaking book deepens the understanding of the death of one’s parents through the experiences of the author, a daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her parents never communicated their imprisonment experiences, causing Lydia Flem to grow up in a stifling silence that was finally broken upon their deaths as she emptied the old house. She discovers that the lonely process of bereavement is not only one of grieving, but a chaotic jumble of emotions that range from anger and oppressive, infinite pain to revulsion, remorse, and a strange sense of freedom.


“Elegant, poignant and profoundly honest, The Final Reminder is a rumination on ageing, bereavement, solitude and ancestry.” — ‘Times Literary Supplement’

“Lydia Flem has used the process of clearing out her parents’ home after her mother’s death to explore her grief.” — ‘Jewish Chronicle’

“In the process of clearing the house Lydia… gets to know her mother more truly after death.” — ‘Spectator’

“This painful but poignant and taboo-breaking book… explores the process of bereavement and the curious mix of emotions it brings.” — ‘Tribune’

“Deserves to take its place in that select library, alongside Tennyson’s In Memoriam and CS Lewis’s A Grief Observed.” — ‘Sunday Times’ –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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