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The Postcard by Anne Berest
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The Postcard

$31.45

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Narrator Barrie Kealoha
Translator Tina Kover
Length 13 hours 5 minutes
Language English
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A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
TIME MagazineNPRLibrary JournalThe Globe and MailLilithForward MagazineToronto StarThe New Yorker


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.

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.

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Reviews

FIVE STARRED REVIEWS, AN INSTANT NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER, AND A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE

Named a Most Anticipated Book by the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Bustle, Book Riot, Vogue
Named a May ABA Indie Next Pick
Finalist for Fiction and Book Club for the National Jewish Book Award

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 

The Postcard is also a historical detective story about how to uncover those truths—and what remains forever lost in the fragments of documentation that leave a scattered trail.”—Lucas Wittmann, TIME Magazine

“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

“In what feels like a literary magic trick, Berest transforms her own family’s complex and heartbreaking Holocaust history into a novel that masterfully blends elements of drama, mystery and philosophy. It’s propulsive yet deep—an intimate, exacting contemplation of loss that somehow ends in love.”—Kate Tuttle, People Magazine

“Stunning...[The Postcard] leaves us wondering whether the opposite of memory is not forgetting, but rather indifference.”—Leslie Camhi, The New Yorker

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

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

“A can’t-miss novel.”—Chicago Review of Books

“An “un-put-down-able” book is like a double rainbow — rare and oh so magical. Titles like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, The Godfather by Mario Puzo, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, Strange Fruit by Lillian Smith, and The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.... Now comes another un-put-down-able book, The Postcard, by French writer Anne Berest.”—Kitty Kelley, Washington Independent Review of Books

“Compelling.”—The Washington Examiner

“Whenever I put it down, I was pulled back by the sheer strength of Berest’s storytelling. Her ability to conjure real people in surreal circumstances while digging deeply into her own psyche is profound. My understanding of that time and my post-war family’s reaction to it runs deeper as a result.”—Helene Siegel, Jewish Journal

“Straddling the boundary between fiction and memoir, this is one of the most inventive books I read this year.... A must-read for anyone who wants to understand how European amnesia about the Holocaust affects Jewish citizens today.”—Forward, A Best Book of the Year

“This novel is a beautiful, affecting portrait of mother and daughter searching for their family history.”—Nichole LeFebvre, On the Seawall

“In this riveting, poignant and unflinching autofiction, Berest (the great-granddaughter of painter Francis Picabia and Resistance fighter Gabriële Buffet) pursues the mystery ruthlessly....This brilliant novel, at times harrowing in its telling, is surely one of the finest of the year.”—Janet Somerville, The Toronto Star 

“[Berest] deftly intertwines the story of her research with the stories she uncovers.”—Elizabeth Edelglass, Hadassah Magazine

“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

★ “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 Awareness (starred review)

★ “A unique piece of autofiction that unfolds like a thriller while seamlessly addressing a number of hefty social issues past and present... Berest’s moving storytelling brings her ancestors’ story to life in dramatic, artful ways, often interspersing historical events with running discussions between mother and daughter.”—Alice Cary, BookPage (starred review)

“A masterfully woven family story covering five generations of women, The Postcard is a true story that reads like a novel, and a historical narrative with lessons still relevant to today.”—Lilith Magazine, A Best Book of 2023

“Though partially a mystery and even a spy thriller, The Postcard ultimately reads like an absorbing and tragic biography of an extended family, ripped apart by the cruelties of Vichy France.”—Debra Sparks, Frenchly

“An important story...It will open people's eyes. Anne did her homework—she knows what she's talking about.”—Isa Fernandez, Loveland Magazine

“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

“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

Will deepen readers’ understanding of that horrific event while clarifying the role of memory, loss, and the past.”—Library Journal, “Best World Literature of 2023.”

“I highly recommend “The Postcard” – even if you’ve been tempted to never again read a novel about the Holocaust – if only to learn what the true meaning of what it feels like to be the child and grandchild of survivors. It also shines a light on France, its past and its outlook on Jews during contemporary times.”—The Reporter

“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

"The vividness of Berest’s imagination is given all the more force for being firmly couched in the rigorous research that she documents as the book continues, in quasi-Proustian flashbacks seamed with precise analysis and candid self-disclosure. The reality she presents is one you can accept."—The Sydney Morning Herald

“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

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