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This report is taken from PN Review 110, Volume 22 Number 6, July - August 1996.

Sacha Rabinovitch Jeremy Lane

Nearly thirty years ago I first met Sacha Rabinovitch, shortly after I arrived as Sussex University to do a doctorate. For a callow English postgraduate student, with the privileged but accordingly rather complacent and insular background of public school and Cambridge, the refreshment and challenge of Sacha's acquaintance should have been evident, but were probably only gradually appredated. Here was someone cultured and cosmopolitan, yet quite without pretension, who bore a history, her own and her people's, of suffering, of exile, of the knowledge of human evil, rarely if ever spoken of and detectable only perhaps as a kind of indomitability and astringency, a refusal to yield, embodied in her small, slight, tough frame - how overlarge and clumsy I often felt next to Sacha!

Though I knew her first, as did other friends, as the mother of Gabriel Josipovici (who was supervising my research) there was no sense in which she was ever 'merely' Gabriel's mother. Her own strong and independent character shone out, epitomised perhaps in the shock of white hair that crowned a vigorous, mobile, quick intelligent face, illuminated often by a wide and generous smile, its warmth intensified somehow by the shadow of reserve in her eyes - an impression at once of vitality and dignity.

Her son's very considerable career and reputation, developed over the time I've known them both, as an eminent literary critic, as a fine writer of novels and stories, as a successful academic, are in any ...


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