Winner of the Choix Goncourt Prize, Anne Berest's The Postcard is a vivid portrait of twentieth-century Parisian intellectual and artistic life, an enthralling investigation into family secrets, and poignant tale of a Jewish family devastated by the Holocaust and partly restored through the power of storytelling.
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 names of Anne Berest's maternal great-grandparents, Ephraïm and Emma, and their children, Noémie and Jacques--all killed at Auschwitz.
Fifteen years after the postcard is delivered, Anne, the heroine of this novel, is moved to discover who sent it and why. Aided by her chain-smoking mother, family members, friends, associates, a private detective, a graphologist, and many others, she embarks on a journey to discover the fate of the Rabinovitch family: their flight from Russia following the revolution, their journey to Latvia, Palestine, and Paris. What emerges is a moving saga that shatters long-held certainties about Anne's family, her country, and herself.
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About the Author
Anne Berest is the bestselling co-author of How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are (Doubleday, 2014) and the author of a novel based on the life of French writer Françoise Sagan. With her sister Claire, she is also the author of Gabriële, a critically acclaimed biography of her great-grandmother, Gabriële Buffet-Picabia, Marcel Duchamp's lover and muse. She is the great-granddaughter of the painter Francis Picabia. For her work as a writer and prize-winning showrunner, she has been profiled in publications such as French Vogue and Haaretz newspaper. The recipient of numerous literary awards, The Postcard was a finalist for the Goncourt Prize and has been a long-selling bestseller in France.
Tina Kover's translations for Europa Editions include Antoine Compagnon's A Summer with Montaigne and Négar Djavadi's Disoriental, winner of the Albertine Prize and the Lambda Literary Award, and a finalist for both the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature and the PEN Translation Prize.
Named a Most Anticipated Book by the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Bustle, Book Riot, Vogue
Named a May ABA Indie Next Pick
Winner of the Choix Goncourt Prize, the Prix Renaudot des lycéens, and the ELLE Readers Prize
"Powerful, meticulously imagined... The Postcard (translated into a lucid and precise English by Tina Kover) takes its readers on a deep dive into one Jewish family's history, and, inextricably, into the devastating history of the Holocaust in France... [A] powerful literary work... that contains a single grand-scale act of self-discovery and many moments of historical illumination."--Julie Orringer, The New York Times Book Review
"Full of suspense and emotion, The Postcard is a quest for origins that plunges us into the darkest hours of European history. A deeply moving book."--Leïla Slimani, author of The Perfect Nanny
"The Postcard is one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read, and certainly the most beautiful I've read in recent years. It floored me, to put it mildly. I will never forget Ephraïm, Emma, Noémie, and Jacques. Universal figures, they are a part of my, of our family now."--Valérie Perrin, author of Fresh Water for Flowers
"A novel of such intimate power that one feels it in the body as it's read...A brave act of survivorship and storytelling."--Kathryn Ma, author of The Chinese Groove
"Moving...Ms. Berest has done her research, artfully weaving grim facts and figures into her family history...Let's hope that a book like this, which encompasses both the monstrosities of the past and the dangers of the present, will guard us from complacency." --Heller McAlpin, The Wall Street Journal
★ "Phenomenal...powerful...brilliant."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
★ "Not only a significant contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust but a moving reflection on loss, memory, and the past, in equal measures heartwarming and heartrending. Highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)
★ "Electrifying...Berest is aware that she's relating a tragedy, but her narration rejects the impulse to let her family members' stories rest at that...Acknowledging both the horrors of the Holocaust and the humanity of those it targeted, The Postcard is a commanding family memoir."--Foreword reviews (starred review)
★ "[A] brilliant work of autofiction... The book derives enormous power from seemingly small details... This is a gut-wrenching, exceptional work."--Shelf Awarness (starred review)
"The Postcard recreates in stunning detail the lives of Berest's lost family members and weaves them into a detective story, loosely centered on the postcard."--The New York Times
"Stunning."--The New Yorker
"A can't-miss novel."--Chicago Review of Books
"Undeniably compelling...A testament to the power of imagination and an investigation of empathy."--Vogue, A Most Anticipated Book of 2023
"Intimate, profound, essential."--ELLE Magazine
"The Postcard is...a powerful exploration of family trauma...transmitted in the womb or down the generations; a longing for what we don't know and can never know of the people whose lives are responsible for our own existence, and an internalization of the very worst that humans can do to one another, visited on one's own family."--Lauren Elkin, The Washington Post
"Reading this novel is intimate...It is as though Berest has taken us by the hand to lead us through the family home and search for the family graves that don't exist. Who are your invisible ones? she continues to ask through the tour, and we are forced to answer, both on her account and our own." --Virginia Reeves, New York Journal of Books
"Absolutely compelling and engrossing, The Postcard by Anne Berest and translated by Tina Kover is a story of memory and loss and a new standout in literature about the Holocaust."--Caitlin Baker, Electric Literature, "Indie Booksellers Recommend 13 Books for 2023"
"I loved this book so much. I cannot stop thinking about it...It's a book that will haunt you and make you think about family legacy, traditions, and so much more."--Elisa Shoenberger, Book Riot, A Best Book of Spring 2023
"Based on actual events in the author's life [The Postcard] transcends the usual. It renders the tragedy poignantly and with impact that can be felt in the gut...This prize-winning book is one not to be missed by anyone who cares about justice and human dignity...Absolutely intriguing."--Eric Boss, MPIBA
"In this sweeping family saga, Berest illuminates opportunities for kindness and betrayal in wartime France and the long echo of the Holocaust's atrocities...will appeal to fans of All the Light We Cannot See and The Book Thief."--Booklist
"The story overall is poignant, tense, restless, and ultimately pivotal, as Anne not only solves her mystery, but, more importantly, gains her identity...The anguish and horror of genocide arrive with fresh impact in an absorbing personal account."--Kirkus Reviews
"Combines the excitement of a thriller with the emotional power of a requiem...A moving, extraordinary book."--Le Point
"Wonderfully constructed, sweeping...As addictive as it is transformative."--La Croix
"Absolutely captivating."--Paris Match
"Both personal and universal, timely and eternal...Magnificent."--Madame Figaro