Charlotte, David Foenkinos

This novel isn’t a fiction, it retraces Charlotte Salomon’s life, a german-jewish painter deported at the age of 26 while she was pregnant. After a childhood in Berlin marked by a family tragedy, Charlotte is progressively excluded by the nazis in every german society spheres. She liveS a founding love passion, before she has to leave everything behind to take refuge in the South of France just after the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). Thereafter, the outcasted women decide to undertake a composition of 769 individual works that we could describe as autobiographical (different from self-portraits) named « Leben? oder Theater?: Win Singspiel » (Life? or Theater?: A Song-play) realized with a fascinating modernity. Knowing herself in danger, she entrust her drawings to her doctor telling him that it represents « her entire life » . Today, these works are kept in Amsterdam . This book is a thrilling portrait of a talented young woman, totally inhabited by her art which makes her fight despair and the barbarism of her time, but also it’s a mention of a tragic fate. The book also represents the story of a search driven by a writer haunted by this artist. Indeed, it contains some first person narrative passages where the author talks about his research on Charlotte, the places he went linked to her..

I admire the emotion and the beauty of the text, mixing prose and poetry. The short sentences punctuated each time by a point induces a slow but pleasant rhythm. I loved this book, it is so well-written and so touching. Moreover it made me discover this wonderful artist. I truly recommend it.

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