Charlotte by David Foenkinos
A Novel

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Foenkinos writes arrestingly about Charlotte, masterfully imagining her interior life as well as charting his responses as he follows her to places “charged with terror”.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Internationally literary phenomenon, multiple award-winner, and massive bestseller with over 500,000 copies in print in France and rights sold in 20 countries, Charlotte tells the story of artist Charlotte Salomon―born in pre-World War II Berlin to a Jewish family traumatized by suicide.

Obsessed with art, and with living, Charlotte attended school in Germany until it was too dangerous to remain, fled to France, and was interned in a bleak work camp from which she narrowly escaped. Newly free, she spent two years in almost total solitude, creating a series of autobiographical art―images, words, even musical scores―that together tell her life story. A pregnant Charlotte was killed in Auschwitz at the age of 26, but not before she entrusted her life's work to a friend, who kept it safe until peacetime. The result, an extraordinary novel avant la lettre, was eventually published as Life? or Theatre? (and now reissued by Overlook), a unique, relentlessly complete artistic expression.

In Charlotte, David Foenkinos―with passion, life, humor, and intelligent observation―has written his own utterly original tribute to Charlotte Salomon's tragic life and transcendent art. His gorgeous, haunting, and ultimately redemptive novel is the result of a long-cherished desire to honor this young artist. Infused with the emotion of a writer who connects deeply with his subject, and masterfully and sensitively translated by Sam Taylor, Charlotte is a triumph of creative expression, a monument to genius stilled too soon, and an ode to the will to survive.

 

About David Foenkinos

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David Foenkinos is a screenwriter and the author of thirteen novels translated into forty languages, including La Délicatesse, Les Souvenirs, and Je Vais Mieux. In 2011, with his brother, he adapted his book La Délicatesse for a film starring Audrey Tautou and François Damiens.Sam Taylor is a journalist, novelist, and the acclaimed translator of Laurent Binet's HHhH and the New York Times bestseller The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair.
 
Published May 31, 2016 by The Overlook Press. 224 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Charlotte
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Mar 03 2016

Foenkinos hasn’t written a biography, but he hasn’t written a novel, either. He’s retold Salomon’s life in his own style. His is an unsettling ventriloquism. It’s as if he’s extracted Salomon’s voice and inserted his own in the space where it was. A searing portrait of a brilliant artist that doesn’t reveal anything new about its subject.

Read Full Review of Charlotte: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Emily Rhodes on Jan 19 2018

Foenkinos writes arrestingly about Charlotte, masterfully imagining her interior life as well as charting his responses as he follows her to places “charged with terror”.

Read Full Review of Charlotte: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

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