"But I knew, deep down, that I didn't really live there, and that made me sad. At times I felt as if I'd never been so at home, and at times I felt like a beggar at a window, dazzled by a thing that wasn't mine."
That quote from A Fifty-Year Silence, by Miranda Richmond Mouillot, sums up why I chose to this book to review: the author's obsession with a small town in France and her desperate desire to stay there is eerily familiar to me. But her story goes deeper. What takes her to France is a house that her grandparents bought and abandoned years ago - her grandparents who haven't spoken to each other in 50 years.
Mouillot desperately tries to understand their relationship (or lack thereof), and takes it in turn to question each of her grandparents. They are both Jewish individuals who were able to escape Nazi France for refugee camps in Switzerland. Their stories are in turns horrifying and heart-warming. Their fears and burdens have been passed down to the author, who tries to unearth and make sense of what happened to her grandparents.
Her search ultimately leads her to live in the house her grandparents had purchased, where she met her now-husband, a Frenchman. She eventually learns that while it's important to know your past and understand it, the only way out is by creating your own future.
The premise of the book is great and Mouillot's writing is easy to read, but the narrative is very confusing. Sometimes I had a hard time following what was happening to which grandparent, as they were often separated. She frequently switches back and forth between her life, her grandparents' current lives, and her grandparents' lives then.
The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars. A good read, particularly while I'm living here in France, but it's hard to follow at times.
Disclaimer: I received this e-book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.