A Love Story
A visionary story of three generations of artists whose search for meaning and connection transcends the limits of life
How do we relate to—and hold—our family’s past? Is it through technology? Through spirit? Art, poetry, music? Or is it through the resonances we look for in ourselves?
we meet the Kurzweils, a family of creators who are preserving their history through unusual means. At the center is renowned inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who has long been saving the documents of his deceased father, Fredric, an accomplished conductor and pianist from Vienna who fled the Nazis in 1938.
Once, Fred’s life was saved by his art: an American benefactor, impressed by Fred’s musical genius, sponsored his emigration to the United States. He escaped just one month before Kristallnacht.
Now, Fred has returned. Through AI and salvaged writing, Ray is building a chatbot that writes in Fred’s voice, and he enlists his daughter, cartoonist Amy Kurzweil, to help him ensure the immortality of their family’s fraught inheritance.
Amy’s deepening understanding of her family’s traumatic uprooting resonates with the creative life she fights to claim in the present, as Amy and her partner, Jacob, chase jobs, and each other, across the country. Kurzweil evokes an understanding of accomplishment that centers conversation and connection, knowing and being known by others.
With Kurzweil’s signature humanity and humor, in boundary-pushing, gorgeous handmade drawings, Artificial guides us through nuanced questions about art, memory, and technology, demonstrating that love, a process of focused attention, is what grounds a meaningful life.
A Graphic Memoir
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2016 • A Junior Library Guild Fall 2016 SelectionFlying Couch
, Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming–of–age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile. Captivated by Bubbe’s story, Amy turns to her sketchbooks, teaching herself to draw as a way to cope with what she discovers. Entwining the voices and histories of these three wise, hilarious, and very different women, Amy creates a portrait not only of what it means to be part of a family, but also of how each generation bears the imprint of the past.
A retelling of the inherited Holocaust narrative now two generations removed, Flying Couch
uses Bubbe’s real testimony to investigate the legacy of trauma, the magic of family stories, and the meaning of home. With her playful, idiosyncratic sensibility, Amy traces the way our memories and our families shape who we become. The result is this bold illustrated memoir, both an original coming–of–age story and an important entry into the literature of the Holocaust.