Michelene Wandor

Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Michelene Wandor, July 28, 2010

By Rebecca Skloot
Macmillan, £18.99

'Hela" is the native name for Sri Lanka. It is also a seaside resort in Poland. HeLa, however, is a shorthand reference to the "world's first immortal cells" - taken from the virulent cancer which killed their unknowing, black donor, Henrietta Lacks, in 1951.


A family traced back with tears

By Michelene Wandor, July 25, 2008

Nancy Kohner's memoir My Father's Roses (Hodder & Stoughton, £18.99) was completed in touching and distressing circumstances. Kohner's daughter, Bridget McGing, describes in a prologue her mother's death from cancer in 2006, a week after finishing the manuscript.

Although the book follows the trajectory of a post-Holocaust story, it is more than that. Kohner organised a vast jumble of family letters, diaries and papers, which took months to translate. Her additional research involved returning to Prague 40 years after her family's departure.