This is the story of Sasha Abramsky’s grandparents, Chimen and Miriam Abramsky, and of their unique home at 5 Hillway, around the corner from Hampstead Heath. In their semi-detached house, so deceptively ordinary from the outside, the Abramskys created a remarkable House of Books. It became the repository for Chimen’s collection of thousands upon thousands of books, manuscripts and other printed, handwritten and painted documents, representing his journey through the great political, philosophical, religious and ethical debates that have shaped the western world.
Chiman Abramsky was barely a teenager when his father, a famous rabbi, was arrested by Stalin’s secret police and sentenced to five years hard labour in Siberia, and fifteen when his family was exiled to London.
Lacking a university degree, he nevertheless become a polymath, always obsessed with collecting ideas, with capturing the meanderings of the human soul through the world of great thoughts and thinkers. He also made his living as a book-dealer and amassed a huge, and astonishingly rare library of literature.
Room by room, book by book, idea by idea, the world of these politically engaged intellectuals, autodidacts and dreamers is lovingly resurrected. In this extraordinary elegy to a lost world