The Safe House


Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
5.8 X 0.8 X 8.5 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

Christophe Boltanski is an award-winning journalist who reported for Libération from London, Jerusalem, and the Gulf War. The Safe House is his first novel. Laura Marris is a poet, essayist, and translator. She has been a MacDowell Colony fellow, and her translation of Louis Guilloux's Le Sang noir is forthcoming from the New York Review Books.


"Maybe every memoirist, meditating on the past, inevitably writes fiction, but Christophe Boltanski's entrancing novel walks the high wire between memory and imagination with exceptional grace, wit--and deadly force. A brilliant, moving, and entirely original work of art, which is to say a work of truth, as if a century, rather than a man, had written its memoir."--Patricia Hampl, author of Blue Arabesques
"The Safe House is well crafted and ingeniously structured. Christophe Boltanski is a superb stylist, moving with ease, always seamlessly, between different times and various places. Despite its claustrophobic appearance, the novel is quite spacious and emblematic in telling a story of historical horror, displacement, and human struggle for survival."--Ha Jin, author of The Boat Rocker
"An engrossing narrative streaked with the dreads, routine strangeness, desperate attachments, issues of identity, challenges of displacement, strategies of survival, and ultimately, hunger for living that typified the Boltanski family. This is a story about history--familial, personal, tribal, national. More specifically, the telling is vivified by the impulses that history evokes, one of which is to reanimate history itself--which perhaps is why Boltanski calls this book a 'novel.' His attuned Anglophone translator, Laura Marris, says the work 'exists in a borderland between truth and fiction, the kind of space where definitions of genre sometimes force a divide.'"--Ron Slate "On the Seawall "
"What comes through in this short, smart, funny book is bravery and toughness, especially that of his grandmother, who in a world of imaginary and real terrors kept the family safe and together."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Complex and meticulously plotted; this mystery house full of odd characters will make the reader consider storytelling as the building of a physical and mental space."--Kirkus Reviews
"Elegant, highly visual, alternatingly airless and soaring on the wind of inspiration, Boltanski's intimate tale, gracefully translated by Laura Marris, walks a tightwire between darkness and light, melancholy and joy."--ForeWord Reviews