« Je rencontrais une écriture qui crevait la surface protectrice de la vie pour toucher l’âme, le corps qui souffre ce qu’un être humain ne doit pas souffrir. Les mots peuvent dire ce qu’il est à peine supportable de voir, et de concevoir. Et ils peuvent ramener l’amour que Charlotte Delbo avait eu pour toutes celles, ceux qu’elle avait vu souffrir. La lucidité, la capacité de dire et d’écrire était là. Une langue pouvait rendre ce qui avait eu lieu. Le trou que faisait dans notre humanité la catastrophe d’Auschwitz, un écrivain me donnait le moyen de le raccommoder avec une œuvre qui en faisait le récit. Elle avait cherché la beauté de la langue dans le terrible des mots ciselés en arrêtes coupantes. Elle les disait avec la douceur qui prend quand l’au-delà de la douleur est atteint. Elle l’écrivait des années plus tard, ouvrait les images restées, elle interrogeait avec liberté les souvenirs au moment où elle les écrivait, elle découvrait la vie retrouvée ». G. D.collection littéraire dirigée par Martine Saada
Patrick Modiano opens Dora Bruder by telling how in 1988 he stumbled across an ad in the personal columns of the New Year's Eve 1941 edition of Paris Soir. Placed by the parents of a 15-year-old Jewish girl, Dora Bruder, who had run away from her Catholic boarding school, the ad sets Modiano off on a quest to find out everything he can about Dora and why, at the height of German reprisals, she ran away on a bitterly cold day from the people hiding her. He finds only one other official mention of her name on a list of Jews deported from Paris to Auschwitz in September 1942. With no knowledge of Dora Bruder aside from these two records, Modiano continues to dig for fragments from Dora's past. What little he discovers in official records and through remaining family members, becomes a meditation on the immense losses of the peroid—lost people, lost stories, and lost history. Modiano delivers a moving account of the ten-year investigation that took him back to the sights and sounds of Paris under the Nazi Occupation and the paranoia of the Pétain regime as he tries to find connections to Dora. In his efforts to exhume her from the past, Modiano realizes that he must come to terms with the specters of his own troubled adolescence. The result, a montage of creative and historical material, is Modiano's personal rumination on loss, both memoir and memorial.
Auschwitz and After
Delbo was arrested in 1942 for anti-German activity, and was one of 230 Frenchwomen sent to Auschwitz in January 1943. Only 49 survived.
Charlotte Salomon is born into a family stricken by suicide and a country at war – but there is something exceptional about her. She has a gift, a talent for painting. And she has a great love, for a brilliant, eccentric musician. But just as she is coming in to her own as an artist, death is coming to control her country. The Nazis have come to power and, a Jew in Berlin, her life is narrowing – she is kept from her art, torn from her love and her family, chased from her country. And still she is not safe, not from the madness that has hunted her family, or the one gripping Europe . . . Charlotte is a heart-breaking true story – inspiring, unflinching, awful, hopeful – of a life filled with curiosity, animated by genius and cut short by hatred. A beautifully, lucidly told memorial, it has become an international sensation.
An Unnecessary Woman
Winner of the California Book Award Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for the National Book Award “Beautiful and absorbing.”—New York Times An Unnecessary Woman is a breathtaking portrait of one reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, which garnered a wave of rave reviews and love letters to Alameddine’s cranky yet charming septuagenarian protagonist, Aaliya, a character you “can’t help but love” (NPR). Aaliya’s insightful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and her volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left. Here, the gifted Rabih Alameddine has given us a nuanced rendering of one woman's life in the Middle East and an enduring ode to literature and its power to define who we are. “A paean to the transformative power of reading, to the intellectual asylum from one’s circumstances found in the life of the mind.”—LA Review of Books “[The novel] throbs with energy…[Aaliya’s] inventive way with words gives unfailing pleasure, no matter how dark the events she describes, how painful the emotions she reveals.”—Washington Post
From the prize-winning author of Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma Winner of the Prix Femina Etranger London, in the frayed heat of summer. Alena is shoplifting shoes when Dave catches her in the act and so begins an unlikely relationship between two people with little in common and everything to lose. But the past is a dark place. And both of them have secrets they’ve no idea how to live with – or leave behind. Yet still they find themselves fighting with all they’ve got for a future together. But is love enough? 'Accomplished... Beautiful... Heart-wrenching' Independent on Sunday Shortlisted for the Prix Femina Prize
The Memory of Pain
In this book, Camila Loew analyzes four womenOCOs testimonial literary writings on the Holocaust to examine and question some of the tenets of the fields of Holocaust studies, gender studies, and testimony. Through a close reading of the works of Charlotte Delbo, Margarete Buber-Neumann, Ruth Klger, and Marguerite Duras, Loew foregrounds these authorsOCO search for a written form to engage with their experiences of the extreme. Although each chapter contains its individual focus and features, the book possesses a unity in intention, concerns, and consequences. In the theoretical introduction that unites the four chapters, Loew eschews essentialism and revises the emergence of the field of Women and Holocaust studies from the early 1980s on, and signals some of its shortcomings. In response, and in accordance with a recent turn in various disciplines of the Humanities, Loew highlights the ethical dimension of testimony and its responsible commitment to the other. In dealing with the texts as literary testimoniesOCoa complex genre, between literature and historyOCo, testimony is freed from the obligation to respond to the requirements of factual truth, and becomes a privileged form to voice the traumatic event, and to symbolically explore the role of excess."
Madame Bovary of the Suburbs
The story of a woman's life, from childhood to death, somewhere in provincial France, from the 1950s to just shy of 2025. She has doting parents, does well at school, finds a loving husband after one abortive attempt at passion, buys a big house with a moonlit terrace, makes decent money, has children, changes jobs, retires, grows old and dies. All in the comfort that the middle-classes have grown accustomed to. But she's bored. She takes up all sorts of outlets to try to make something happen in her life: adultery, charity work, esotericism, manic house-cleaning, motherhood and various hobbies - each one abandoned faster than the last. But no matter what she does, her life remains unfocussed and unfulfilled. Nothing truly satisfies her, because deep down - just like the town where she lives - the landscape is non-descript, flat, horizontal. Sophie Divry dramatises the philosophical conflict between freedom and comfort that marks women's lives in a materialistic world. Our heroine is an endearing, contemporary Emma Bovary, and Divry's prose will remind readers of the best of Houellebecq, the cold, implacable historian who paints a precise portrait of an era and those who inhabit it and in doing so renders existence indelibly absurd. Translated from the French by Alison Anderson
The Last Love Song
In The Last Love Song, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New Yorker and New York Times Notable book) and Just One Catch, delves deep into the life of distinguished American author and journalist Joan Didion in this, the first printed biography published about her life. Joan Didion lived a life in the public and private eye with her late husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, whom she met while the two were working in New York City when Didion was at Vogue and Dunne was writing for Time. They became wildly successful writing partners when they moved to Los Angeles and co-wrote screenplays and adaptations together. Didion is well-known for her literary journalistic style in both fiction and non-fiction. Some of her most-notable work includes Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Run River, and The Year of Magical Thinking, a National Book Award winner and shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, it dealt with the grief surrounding Didion after the loss of her husband and daughter. Daugherty takes readers on a journey back through time, following a young Didion in Sacramento, through to her adult life as a writer interviewing those who know and knew her personally, while maintaining a respectful distance from the reclusive literary great. The Last Love Song reads like fiction; lifelong fans, and readers learning about Didion for the first time will be enthralled with this impressive tribute.