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After surviving World War II by escaping the Nazi occupation, Miranda Richmond Mouillot’s grandparents, Anna and Armand, bought an old stone house in a remote, picturesque village in the south of France. Five years later, Anna packed her bags and walked out on Armand, taking the typewriter and their children. The two never saw or spoke to each other again.
This is the deeply involving account of Miranda’s journey to find out what happened. To discover the roots of this embittered and entrenched silence, Miranda abandons her plans for the future and moves to the old stone house, now a crumbling ruin, where she immerses herself in letters and archival materials, slowly teasing stories out of her reticent, and declining, grandparents. Along the way she finds herself learning how not only to survive, but to thrive—making a home in the village and falling in love.
With warmth, humor, and rich, evocative detail, A Fifty-Year Silence is a heartbreaking, uplifting love story spanning two continents and three generations.
‘A tender portrait of a family and the inheritance—and obligation—of memory. A stunning debut.’
‘A moving family history researched with dedication and completed with a granddaughter’s love.’
‘Charming, understated…A wonderful evocation of the way that the Holocaust has haunted many generations.’
‘The corrosive effects of the Holocaust—upon those directly involved and generations thereafter—are illustrated vividly in this candid saga of familial love and misunderstanding.’
‘An eloquent and engrossing read…It’s a totally captivating journey that will have you rapt from start to finish.’
‘Miranda’s story is moving and evocative of the times, rich in detail and with characters who come vividly to life.’
‘A skilfully written and nuanced portrait of two tough and complex individuals trying to cope with the extraordinary challenges of war.’
‘The warmth with which Mouillot shares her experiences ensures the reader travels with her until the end in this heartbreaking insight into the last effects of the Holocaust.’
‘As endearing as its themes are enduring.’