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Memory : A Novel
Simon & Schuster

Memory : A Novel

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Author(s): Philippe Grimbert

Twenty years after his mother and father jumped to their deaths from a balcony, Philippe Grimbert has written a gripping novel about the hidden memories that dominated their lives.

A colossal bestseller in Europe, Memory is the story of a family haunted by the secret of their past: an illicit love affair, a lost child, and a devastating betrayal dating back to the Second World War.

The day after my fifteenth birthday, I finally learned what I had always known....

Growing up in postwar Paris as the sickly only child of glamorous athletic parents, the narrator invents for himself a make-believe older brother, stronger and more brilliant than he can ever be. It is only when the boy begins talking to an old family friend that he comes to realize that his imaginary sibling had a real predecessor: a half brother whose death in the concentration camps is part of a buried family secret that he was intended never to uncover.

A spare, erotic, and ultimately cathartic narrative, Memory is a mesmerizing tale of coming to terms with one's shameful past through the unraveling of a series of dark desires.

"The comfort we get from the cold raw truths -- death and loss and longing -- is that life itself is capable of small beauties. Grimbert captures this with style, depth and grace. Memory is a stunning book which simultaneously manages to widen our sense of history and story-telling." -- Colum McCann, author of Zoli and Dancer
"Powerful and gripping" -- Publishers Weekly
"Memorable" -- Kirkus Reviews
"His allusive, spare, elliptical prose reproduces the feeling of hidden nightmares, and evokes the uncertainty of reconstructing one's life anew with only partial information -- a process undergone by Philippe within the story, and by the author in writing the book. The result is both a poignant contribution to Holocaust literature and the tragic tale of a couple whose personal history was, as Grimbert puts it, 'intertwined with History with a capital H.'" -- Nextbook
"A splendid book that gives the unspeakable written form." -- Le Monde
"'Although an only child, for many years I had a brother.' So begins this spare, remarkable novel, which reads as easily as a children's tale, yet packs a grown-up punch." -- Lisa Appignanesi, The Independent (U.K.)
"Everything about it -- style, tone, sensibility -- is just as it should be. Everything about it -- its structure, and the path it forges toward literary truth -- commands respect." -- L'Express
"A slim little book -- quick, but heavy with terror. [Memory] is marvel of a book, rendered in a fluid and flexible translation from the French by Polly McLean, and its deepest secret of all is that fact and fiction may not be rivals but long-lost brothers." -- Financial Times
"[Memory] is a spare, haunting, brilliantly poised evocation of the way experiences of war, pain, and shame, even when unspoken, percolate through the family to shape and distort new generations." -- The Independent
"A spare, minimally told story, which resonates with historical and personal meaning." -- Jewish Chronicle

ISBN:  9781416560005