A photograph taken in 1971 sets two people on the path to uncovering the truth about their parents. - (Gardners)
A photograph taken in 1971 sets two people on the path to uncovering the truth about their parents.
- (Perseus Publishing
"Every note of the characters' correspondence rings true."Le Nouvel Observateur
"A page-turning novel with a skilfully woven plot."Page des Libraires
"Rich in deftly turned prose and subtle character study."Sud-Ouest
"A wonderful book about the archaeology of memory."Le Magazine Littéraire
"Elegant, restrained, and poetic."France Inter
The three figures in the photograph are frozen forever, two men and a woman bathed in sunlight . . .
The chance discovery of a newspaper image from 1971 sets two people on the path to learning the disturbing truth about their parents' pasts.
Parisian archivist Hélène takes out a newspaper advert calling for information about her mother, who died when she was three, and the two men pictured with her in a photograph taken at a tennis tournament at Interlaken in 1971. Stéphane, a Swiss biologist living in Kent, responds: his father is one of the people in the photo. Letters and more photos pass between them as they embark on a journey to uncover the truth their parents kept from them. But will the relics of the past fill the silences left by the players?
Winner of fifteen literary awards, this dark yet touching drama deftly explores the themes of blame and forgiveness, identity and love.
Hélène Gestern lives and works in Nancy, France. The People in the Photo is her first novel.
- (Perseus Publishing
*Starred Review* This remarkable debut novel begins with a photo of Parisian archivist Hélène's mother, Natasha, taken in 1971, a year before Natasha died. It includes two men Hélène has never seen before. She advertises for anyone knowing the identity of either of the men in the photo, and she connects with Stephane, whose father is one of the men. The story develops that Hélène was only four when her mother died, and her father and stepmother will tell her nothing about Natasha, not even how she died. Stephane's father became seriously depressed, and his parents' marriage became very bitter after 1971, so he has something at stake in this also. While the mystery surrounding Natasha unfolds, so does the deepening relationship between Hélène and Stephane. Told through notes and e-mails between the two, with descriptions of the photos the two uncover that are so vivid as to bring the pictures to life. Winner of more than 15 awards in France, this novel has been translated beautifully into English to thrill another continent. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.