Starting in the Polish city of Krakow in 1890, this memoir spans over a hundred years, four continents and five generations. Mosaic is Diane Armstrong's moving account of her remarkable and resilient family.
This story begins when Daniel Baldinger divorces the wife he loves because she cannot bear children. Believing that "a man must have sons to say Kaddish for him when he dies," he marries a much younger woman, and by 1913, Daniel and his second wife Lieba have eleven children, including six sons. Armstrong has created a richly textured portrait that follows the Baldinger children's lives down the decades, through the terrifying years of the Holocaust, to the present.
Mosaic is the story of the eternal dance of the generations, the mystery of survival, and the legacy of the past. It's the story of ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances and of one woman's journey to reclaim her heritage.
Mosaic was included by Barnes & Noble in its 'Discover Great New Writers' programme and was selected by Amazon.com as one of the top ten memoirs of 2001.
Read a sample chapter from Mosaic at Barnes and Noble
Awards & Nominations
Mosaic was shortlisted in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, and in the National Biography Awards.
Praise for Mosaic
Diane Armstrong’s book is a source of delight to the reader. Written with fervour and talent, it will capture your attention and retain it to the last page.
Mosaic flows like a novel, which once started, is hard to put down. It is a compelling family history of extraordinary people set against some of the most frightening events of our century. The depth of emotions evoked is stunning. I was thrilled and deeply moved.
Compulsive reading, thanks in no small part to Armstrong’s ability to bring each character to life.
A stirring and powerful tapestry into which she has masterfully interwoven the story of her family with the enormity of the Holocaust, commuting fluently between the individual and the historical, the particular and the universal
Her rich account of lives good and bad, love, joy, bravery, greed, and bitterness is a testament to the human spirit. Armstrong’s stories will bring smiles and tears.
It is no small achievement and it bristles with life … Mosaic is a work of many levels. But ultimately it succeeds because most of its characters demonstrate how the human spirit can soar way, way above adversity.
A most remarkable book about one family’s experience … a rich and compelling history history … Just as A.B. Facey’s A Fortunate Life and Sally Morgan’s My Place have become part of the national literary heritage, so too has Mosaic earned its place in our social dialogue as part of our cultural tapestry.
A haunting Holocaust history that deserves shelf space alongside Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel. Diane Armstrong’s work is a monumental accomplishment – both accessible enough and powerful enough to linger in our consciousness long after we have turned the last page.
Mosaic has the epic sweep and emotional depth of a 19th Century novel. Her skillful blending of vibrant individual voices across the generations makes this memoir a touching tribute to the healing powers of storytelling as well as to the unquenchable human spirit.
A homage to Armstrong’s family and a moving and poignant celebration of survival
A vivid, heartwarming, family memoir. The plot and her characters move along in a fast-paced, tightly-woven narrative.