Author: Anne Berest
Published by: Europa Editions on May 16, 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction, Nonfiction
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 10/10
Anne Berest’s luminous, moving, and unforgettable new novel The Postcard is the most acclaimed and beloved French book in recent years.
At once a gripping investigation into family secrets, a poignant tale of mothers and daughters, and an enthralling portrait of 20th-century Parisian intellectual and artistic life, The Postcard tells the story of a family devastated by the Holocaust and yet somehow restored by love and the power of storytelling. Heartbreaking, funny, atmospheric, and a sheer joy to read, The Postcard is certain to find fans among readers of Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.
January 2003. Together with the usual holiday cards, an anonymous postcard is delivered to the Berest family home. On the front, a photo of the Opéra Garnier in Paris; on the back, the four names of Anne Berest’s maternal great-grandparents, Ephraïm and Emma, and their children, Noémie and Jacques—all of whom died at Auschwitz in 1942.
Almost twenty years after the postcard is delivered, Anne is moved to discover who sent it, and why. Aided by her chain-smoking mother, countless family, friends, and associates, a private detective, a graphologist, and many others, she embarks on a journey to uncover the fate of the Rabinovitch family: their flight from Russia following the revolution, their journey to Latvia, Palestine, and Paris, the war and its aftermath. What emerges is a thrilling and sweeping tale that shatters her certainties about her family, her country, and herself.
Memorable, candid, and touching!
The Postcard is a poignant, absorbing, fictional autobiography that takes you into the life of Anne, a young woman who, after her daughter is the victim of antisemitism in the schoolyard, decides with the help of her mother to delve into her family’s past to finally discover what truly happened to her grandmother’s parents and siblings who were all arrested, imprisoned, and slaughtered in Auschwitz in 1942, and to once and for all uncover the identity of the person who in 2003 mailed a postcard to the family home that only contained a list of their names.
The prose is insightful and authentic. The characters are strong, intelligent, and determined. And the plot is an illuminating tale of life, loss, love, family, sacrifice, courage, survival, selflessness, determination, history, culture, the inconceivable horrors of war, and the special bonds that exist between mothers and daughters.
Overall, The Postcard is ultimately a heart-wrenching, affecting, personal family tale by Berest that highlights the importance and empowerment of self-identity and is a sobering reminder of all the millions of lives that were senselessly violated and lost in this heinous time in history.
This book is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to PGC Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.