A Bookshop in Berlin: The Rediscovered Memoir of One Woman's Harrowing Escape from the Nazis


Product Details

$26.00  $23.92
Atria Books
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.5 X 1.1 inches | 0.88 pounds
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About the Author

Françoise Frenkel was born in Poland in 1889. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, she opened the first French-language bookshop in Berlin with her husband. In the summer of 1939, with war looming, Frenkel fled to Paris. She sought refuge across occupied France for the next several years until finally escaping across the border to Switzerland, where she wrote a memoir documenting her refugee experience. Her memoir, originally published in 1945 as Rien où poser sa tête (No Place to Lay One's Head), was rediscovered in an attic in southern France in 2010 and republished in the original French as well as in a dozen other languages. This is its first publication in the United States. Frenkel died in Nice in 1975.

Patrick Modiano is a bestselling novelist and the winner of some of the most prestigious literary awards in France, including the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca for lifetime achievement. In 2014 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for "the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation."


Select Praise from the UK

"An astonishing memoir . . . as gripping as any thriller." --The Sunday Times

"A beautiful and important book...shocking yet delicate prose, cruelty and beauty combined in just over 250 pages." --The Independent

"[Frenkel] spins, almost out of nothingness, a crucial moment in time that ought to suspend itself over the consciences of her readers, her fellow men, vitally, critically and irrevocably. We are given only hints of a past, nothing of a future, a highly selective panorama of a present. Yet what we hold in our hands, as we hold this little volume, can be said to be pure gold."--Bookanista

"I cried and still couldn't put it down." --Lisa Appignanesi, award-winning author of Losing the Dead and Mad, Bad, and Sad

"A lost classic . . . Frenkel's tale and prose is utterly compelling, at once painful and exquisite." --Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

"Remarkable . . . A French equivalent to the anonymous A Woman in Berlin, and a non-fiction counterpoint to Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise. . . [A book that] everyone should hold in their hands." --Daily Telegraph (five stars)

"The book is not only a moving memoir but also an intriguing historical document, thanks not least to Frenkel's emphasis on the often unsolicited help she received from ordinary French people." --Natasha Lehrer, The Times Literary Supplement
-New York Times Book Review

"We can only remain grateful to the constellation of luck and chance that allowed, first, Frenkel's survival, and now, the recovery of her exceptional book."
-Wall Street Journal

"Detailed, emotional, and careful... A compelling account of crushing oppression, those who sought to flee it, and those who, at great risk, offered help."
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Riveting. . . . Frenkel, who died in 1975, writes that it is 'the duty of those who have survived to bear witness to ensure the dead are not forgotten.' Frenkel's remarkable story of resilience and survival does just that, and will truly resonate with readers." --Publishers Weekly

"Insightful, sympathetic, suspenseful, and eventually triumphant, this memoir is a worthy addition to the WWII canon."
-Booklist (starred review)