Char­lotte: A Novel

David Foenk­i­nos
  • From the Publisher
January 4, 2017

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.

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