Light Within the Shadows: An Artist’s Memoir

Pnina Granirer’s memoir of her life from 1935 to the present describes a true artist’s odyssey conceived as a drama in three acts, starting with a perilous childhood as a Jewish girl in 1940s Romania, continuing with emigration to Israel in the early years of the state, and concluding with a long creative period in North America, mostly based in Vancouver. Granirer writes with a painter’s eye, vividly evoking cities from Jerusalem to Paris to Montreal, and landscapes from the coastal sand dunes of Israel to the far north of Canada.

Granirer shares her creative process and how it relates to her life experience in three very different cultures, with their different opportunities and limitations


“This thoughtful and fascinating memoir would appeal to anyone interested in the creative life, and how it was lived by one gifted and determined artist through the vicissitudes of the 20th century and into the 21st.” Graham Good, Professor Emeritus of English, UBC, author of The Observing Self and Humanism Betrayed

“LIGHT WITHIN THE SHADOWS is an artist’s triptych between three continents, and a historical primer in woodblock print, word and pencil drawings on Pnina Granirer’s life: her early years at the heart of Europe in Romania before, during, and after the Second World War under the Nazis and the Communists, where her family and Jewish community in Bräila were immunized by a Romanian concoction of kindness and corruption, and the connivings of a canny mother with an eye for recycling designer clothes and making deals with devils. Post war in Israel means making money to survive, painting cuckoo clocks and developing a technique for decorating slippery lampshades in aqua colour without the paint running, going to art school and to high school in Hebrew, then soldiering on as a filing clerk in Nazareth before marrying her mathematician, Eddy, who was not allowed to wed her in his beloved shorts, for what would be a long, long life together.

“For me the standouts of the book are its moments of graphic memory, some sensory, some sensationally sad and curious: a Nazi official confiscating her father’s library of leather-bound books, which the official would never read, but stacked on the shelves in his office to make them look good and him important; a fabulous black woman, Lulu Belle, staring at me out of a surreal woodcut across the counter of her antique curio shop in Urbana, Illinois

Although Pnina Granirer calls the book her “visual diary”, many fine, sensory turns of phrase lingered after I finished reading it…”the perfume of pencils,” for example. Anyone who can come up with that and revive my own memories of ink wells, and the wooden desk, paint on wood, and lead (graphite) in the pencil I held between my childish fingers has me involved with all five senses in her life story. ” George McWhirter, Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing, University of British Columbia, author of numerous works of poetry and fiction.

“This is a lively and touching act of memory and affirmation, as vivid, theatrical and perceptive as Granirer’s paintings themselves. It shows both an artist’s eye for the telling detail and a historian’s awareness of social and political context. Despite life’s vicissitudes she retains a freshness and sense of wonder as we travel from her origins in a tumultuous Europe through army service in Israel to her eventual place of safety and fulfilment among like-minded friends in Canada.”  Max Wyman, critic and cultural commentator.



The Trials of Eve

The Trials of Eve explores in visual and poetic form the history of woman based on the ancient story of  Adam and Eve.  The pictoral and verbal narrative, in the form of a three- act play, describes Eve’s courtroom trial and subsequent tribulations. The disturbing drama ends on a note of  hope for the future of men and women.
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The hardcover edition was first published in 1989 in a limited edition of 100 copies and is now a collector’s item. It can be found in special  collections of public art galleries and university fine art libraries  in Canada, the U.S. and France. This edition was awarded the 1989 Alcuin Citation Award for book design, the only one of its kind in Canada. There are 12 full colour tipped in images accompanied by twelve poems in English and French.

The bilingual limited edition with an original wood engraving is sold out. A few copies without a print are still available directly from the artist. The soft cover ($30 ) is almost sold out, but re-sale copies may be found on Amazon and Abebooks. To purchase Trials of Eve please contact the artist.

Pnina Granirer, Portrait of an Artist. Over the past forty years, Pnina Granirer has  been exploring and extending her perception of the world around us with exuberantly  colourful and formally innovative paintgs and prints.  Ted Lindberg analyzes in detail Granirer’s art, from her early years in Romania through her student experiences in Israel to her mature works in Canada. Lavishly illustrated, the book contains 195 full colour pages of Granirer’s paintings with a special section devoted to her works as a print maker.

To purchase Pnina Granirer, Portrait of an Artist, please order direct from Ronsdale Press
Bookstores: order from General Distribution Services  ISBN: 0-921870-54-X
Softcover $39.95, hardcover with original print $199.00 (edition of 100)