top of page

Bookcover penguin final.png

PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE AUSTRALIA 

ORDER NOW 

 

PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE NEW ZEALAND  

ORDER NOW 

UK  MARDLE BOOKS 

ORDER NOW


USA JULY 2024    PRE-ORDER NOW

CANADA  JULY 2024  PRE-ORDER NOW

If we seal off the past, how will we ever know the truth?

In 1942, in Nazi-occupied Poland, a Jewish child was smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto in a backpack. That child was Karen Kirsten’s mother, but she knew nothing about this extraordinary event until one day a letter arrived from a stranger.
 

Irena’s Gift weaves together a mystery, history and memoir to tell the story of a family torn apart by war. From the glittering concert halls of interbellum Warsaw to the vermin-infested prison where a Jewish woman negotiates with an SS officer to save her sister’s child, Irena’s Gift is about the lies we tell to survive and what happens when those lies unravel. It is about the extraordinary resilience of three generations of women, and the sacrifices made for love.


 

GERALDINE BROOKS
NYT best selling author & Pulitzer Prize winner
 

"IRENA'S GIFT interrogates the messy complexity of family, both its tenderness and nurture but also its corrosive anger and rejection. It's a disturbing investigation into the power of secrets  to harm and to haunt."

THOMAS KENEALLY
NYT best selling author & Booker Prize winning author of Schindler's
List

"News withheld and what is passed on in doubt and affections is always dramatic if it can be creatively depicted. Karen Kirsten more than fulfils that task of narration and enchantment here."

ARIANA NEUMANN
When Time Stopped
 

"One of the best second-generation Holocaust books ever published. I loved it and couldn’t put it down."

LUCY ADDLINGTONThe Dressmakers of Auschwitz

"A powerful unravelling of mysteries and memory.  IRENA'S GIFT deserves to become a classic of the memoir genre."

MICHELLE BOWDLER 
TIME's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020 author of  
Is Rape a Crime?

"With extremism and fascism again threatening democracies, IRENA’S GIFT is a must-read for our times. Stunningly researched..."

MAYA LEE
The Nazis Knew My Name

"An extraordinary story of how secrets and lies can tear a family apart."

TARA MOSS
The War WidowThe Ghosts of Paris

"A story of extraordinary women, survival and sacrifice. A must read."

SUE SMETHURST
The Freedom Circus

"A story of love, healing, hope and humanity that will tug at your heartstrings."

KEVIN BIRMINGHAM
The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle For James Joyce's Ullyses

"Kirsten reminds us that sometimes heroes can be repulsive, and sometimes lies keep families together. IRENA'S GIFT is beautifully written, deeply researched and deeply felt."

Sign up for book and event updates
bottom of page