Elena Lappin is a writer and editor. She was born in Moscow, grew up in Prague and Hamburg, and has lived in Israel, Canada, the United States, and – longer than anywhere else – in England. She is the author of FOREIGN BRIDES, a collection of stories, THE NOSE, a novel, and WHAT LANGUAGE DO I DREAM IN?, a memoir.
She has contributed investigative journalism, features, reviews and columns to, among others, Granta, Prospect, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Independent, Die Zeit, and New York Times Book Review. Her investigative piece THE MAN WITH TWO HEADS (Granta) has also been published as a book in several translations.
About my books:
In FOREIGN BRIDES, women (and one man) marry and live in countries that are not their own (you could call it a double whammy). THE NOSE tells the story of an American woman living in London and editing a small Jewish magazine. This badly paid but amusing work leads to unexpected revelations about a hidden part of her own family history.
THE MAN WITH TWO HEADS is an in depth investigation of the case of Swiss author Binjamin Wilkomirski, whose memoir FRAGMENTS dealt with surviving the Holocaust as a child. I examined his story and arrived at a surprising conclusion. You can find it in Granta issue 66, titled TRUTH AND LIES.
In my memoir WHAT LANGUAGE DO I DREAM IN? I try to piece together all the very different parts of my identity and understand my multicultural family history. I probably wouldn’t have written this book if I hadn’t received a phone call from a stranger, informing me that my biological father was not the man who raised me. I became my own personal detective in search of family secrets and dramas spanning two centuries of political history on both sides of the Atlantic. How did these big narratives result in my own small story?
My next two books will be a novel, and another memoir. I am working on them almost simultaneously, with numerous and very welcome distractions.
‘… shaped by a fearless sense of comedy’ – W.G. Sebald
‘Captivating… so sparkly with vitality, humour and genuine charm’ – Diana Athill
She creates an acute sense of tension . . . Skilful and riveting’ – Chigozie Obioma, Observer, Books of the Year 2017