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Safe House - by Christophe Boltanski (Hardcover)

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Deep in the recesses of a mansion in an exclusive neighborhood of Paris, a family’s patriarch withdraws to a tiny hideout during the ****** occupation. Although he survives, his descendants are changed forever by the secret that the family harbored during those years?fearful, reluctant to leave the house alone, yet brimming with creativity and genius. Meet ?the Bolts.” ?The Safe House” is the prize-winning memoir by French writer Christophe Boltanski about his famous family’s Paris mansion and the eccentric clan that it sheltered from the 1930s onward. The secret at the heart of this literary mystery is the wartime disappearance within the house of the author’s Jewish grandfather, Étienne Boltanski. In chapters that unfold room by room, Christophe delves into his family history, closing in on a secret compartment in which Étienne hid for two years, unbeknownst even to much of his family, and which he and his wife never revealed in case it was needed again. After the war, the family confined itself within the house, beset by anxieties and an almost pathological wish for isolation, but also ripe with bohemian energy and wanderlust. ?Their house was a palace,” writes Boltanski, ?but they lived like tramps.” Among the house’s accomplished inmates was the author’s uncle, Christian Boltanski, now one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation. An absorbing and often very funny book, ?The Safe House” tells the story of this family’s joys and traumas with bemusement and compassion. Published by Éditions Stock in 2015 as a novel, ?The Safe House” (French title: ?La cache”) was one of the literary sensations of the year in France, winning the prestigious Prix Femina. It was also shortlisted for three other prizes, and in December it won the Prix de Prix, which is given to the best book among the year’s winners of the eight most prestigious French literary awards. A representative review calls it ?a magnificent book ?à la’ Perec, perfectly structured, smart from the first line to the last, combining the game of Clue, ?The Diary of Anne Frank,’ and reportage on a strange French tribe.”

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