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Returning from Silence
Swan Isle Press publishes the English edition of Revenir du silence, translated by Rupert Swyer, distributed by the University of Chicago Press.
“This book is about all that hides behind silence: the history of a family in the twentieth century and how and why for so long their children never heard it. Sarde starts in the lovely, prickly texture of Jewish life in Salonika and its rich culture; so we know what is at stake. We get to know her family intimately, no cut-out heroes or villains but human figures with their fears, their snobberies, their dreams; so we care very much about these people. Then we’re thrown, in pages that are much too vivid for comfort, into the fate of so many of them murdered by the Nazi machine, and so many fighting in the resistance to the war on the Jews. And then we hear how silence came down, and how it was broken. Sarde’s book is funny, chilling, atrocious and beautiful. It is as various as life.”
“Rupert Swyer’s engaging translation brings English-speaking readers Michèle Sarde’s spirited, award-winning saga. Mingling creative writing with family memories and inspired by personal vicissitudes during some of the most tormented periods of the twentieth century, this poignant, gripping, and sometimes humorous novel takes readers from Salonika to Paris and beyond. In Returning from Silence, the setting is historical, but the themes are contemporary: identity, discrimination, emigration and assimilation, and resilience, among others.”