Books for Breakfast

51: Judith Mok: The State of Dark

October 27, 2022 Peter Sirr
Books for Breakfast
51: Judith Mok: The State of Dark
Show Notes Chapter Markers

On todays’s show we talk to Judith Mok, whose memoir The State of Dark has just been published by Lilliput. Judith Mok was born in the Netherlands, to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. She trained as a classical singer and travelled the world performing as a soloist, and has also  fiction and poetry. For the last twenty years she has been based in Ireland, where she works as a voice coach with classical singers and  international pop stars.

The State of Dark is a memoir and detective story. Like many children of Holocaust survivors, she was raised with the emotional trauma of having no other family members, while her parents tried to rebuild their lives in postwar Europe. Despite the constant and occasionally intrusive presence of the past – Anne Frank’s father Otto makes an emotional visit to her father to hand over some letters – she had little concrete information about the hundreds of members of her family who died. All the same, the Holocaust and its consequences continued to haunt her life.
Some praise received by The State of Dark:

‘The State of Dark is a privilege to read. With luminous prose, Judith Mok shines a light into the darkness of her family’s past. It is an extraordinary feat of storytelling to be able to write about inconceivable tragedies with such warmth and humanity.’ LOUISE NEALON
‘Possibly the most powerful book to be published in Ireland this year … unforgettable’ DERMOT BOLGER, SUNDAY BUSINESS POST

Intro/outro music: Colm Mac Con Iomaire, ‘Thou Shalt Not Carry’ from The Hare’s Corner, 2008, with thanks to Colm for permission to use it.

Artwork by Freya Sirr

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