|A Fifty Year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot|
|Reviewer: Sophie Diamond|
|Summary: A deeply touching personal account written as a beautiful and poignant story.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 271||Date: March 2015|
|Publisher: Text Publishing|
The story follows the narrator’s quest to find out why her mother’s parents abruptly parted and never reconciled, or even spoke another word to one another. We follow Miranda as she goes backwards and forwards between her Grandmother, whom she is very close to, and her Grandfather, whom she has always found a difficult character. She is determined to get to the bottom of the story which takes her through terrible first hand accounts of events leading up to and throughout World War Two and what Nazi occupied Europe was like for the Jewish. She is driven by the need to know what could cause two people to part so completely after going through so much together, and it’s become her academic life to find out.
Reading A Fifty Year Silence, it was easy to forget that I was reading a true story. I became totally engrossed in the mystery, feeling just as determined as Miranda to find out what happened. Although the story was true, Mouillot has cleverly put the book together to entice the reader into expecting a perfect, romanticised plot. Prepare for your expectations to be subverted as you find, while the story may feel like fiction, it is actually reality.
This is a beautifully written book. Mouillot’s descriptions of how her own life has been shaped by the events of 50 years ago is truly touching. Getting to the bottom of the mystery is not as simple as a conversation. Her Grandparents are deep and complicated people and without knowing why they parted, Miranda struggles to guage how deeply their separation cuts them. Her journey is a long one, requiring as much tact as tenacity as the writing of this book and it left me with a deep admiration for her accomplishment.
Knowing the events in this book really did take place is both amazing and deeply saddening. The book itself is very emotive because of the subject matter and as a reader you don’t just empathise but feel Mouillot’s longing to find a satisfying reason, and her continuing frustration when she keeps wandering down dead ends. The book doesn’t concentrate on the large horror of occupied Europe but the smaller ripples it created on those who managed to escape, and how that filters down across the generations.
I’m not normally a great lover of biographical works but I loved this book and was completely engrossed from the word go. It’s emotive, informative, well written and impossible not to empathise with. At the end of the day, this is a story of human experience and the desperate thirst we have as a race to always know why.
If you're looking for another poignant story, try the amazing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Fifty Year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A Fifty Year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot at Amazon.com.
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