Kaplan, Vivian Jeanette 1946–
Kaplan, Vivian Jeanette 1946–
PERSONAL: Born 1946, in Shanghai, China; immigrated to Canada, 1948; married; children: three sons. Education: Graduated from University of Toronto.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Writer. Former proprietor of a lodge in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada; former owner of Vivan Kaplan Oriental Interiors (import-export firm).
AWARDS, HONORS: Canadian Jewish Book Award in Biography/Memoir, 2003, for Ten Green Bottles: Vienna to Shanghai.
Ten Green Bottles: Vienna to Shanghai: Journey of Fear and Hope, Robin Brass Studio (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002 published as Ten Green Bottles: The True Story of One Family's Journey from War-torn Austria to the Ghettoes of Shanghai, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Vivian Jeanette Kaplan relates the story of her mother's flight from Nazi persecution in the memoir Ten Green Bottles: The True Story of One Family's Journey from War-torn Austria to the Ghettoes of Shanghai. The central figure Nini Karpel, who lived a charmed life during her early years in Vienna, skiing in the Alps and sipping coffee in cafes. She and her idealistic young friends did not believe that the persecution of the Jews could spread to Austria, but it did. Nini's future husband, Poldi, had already been forced to flee his native Poland. By 1939, Nini and Poldi were making a 7,000-mile exodus to Shanghai, where Vivian was born. Shanghai was, at that time, occupied by the Japanese, who were tolerant toward the Jews, and the family felt relatively safe there. When the war ended, they returned to Vienna, only to face the horrible shock of learning what had happened to those they left behind. Austria was soon overtaken by Communist troops, and the couple moved again, this time to Canada, where they established a new life. Kaplan narrates the story as if her mother is telling it, and the result is "a remarkably vivid and richly detailed account" of what life was like for Jewish refugees, according to George Cohen in Booklist. Library Journal reviewer Charles W. Hayford also found the book a "beautifully composed and engrossing memoir." The use of the first-person narrative was particularly effective, according to a Publishers Weekly writer, who stated: "Kaplan's intimate knowledge of her parents' story makes it seem as if she experienced it herself, and her remarkable achievement will make readers feel that way, too."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kaplan, Vivian Jeanette, Ten Green Bottles: Vienna to Shanghai: Journey of Fear and Hope, Robin Brass Studio (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
Booklist, October 1, 2004, George Cohen, review of Ten Green Bottles: The True Story of One Family's Journey from War-torn Austria to the Ghettos of Shanghai, p. 297.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2004, review of Ten Green Bottles, p. 848.
Library Journal, November 1, 2004, Charles W. Hayford, review of Ten Green Bottles, p. 95.
Maclean's, January 20, 2003, review of Ten Green Bottles: Vienna to Shanghai: Journey of Fear and Hope, p. 51.
Publishers Weekly, September 6, 2004, review of Ten Green Bottles, p. 52.
RBS Studio Books Web site, http://www.rbsstudiobooks.com/ (February 8, 2005), 'Vivian Jeanette Kaplan."