“ Frenkel gives us an urgent narrative of the crucial years of her life. There is a wild beauty to the prose. Frenkel has an appealing style captured in an assured translation by Stephanie Smee. This rediscovered memoir by a Jewish bookseller is a vital eyewitness account of Vichy France. ”
Catherine Taylor, Financial Times
“ This real-life Suite Francaise is a moving tale of a French Jew betrayed by her country. [A] remarkable survivor's memoir. Terribly moving and terribly haunting. It's about one woman's immeasurable sorrow that everyone should hold in their hands. ”
Nicholas Shakespeare, The Daily Telegraph (UK)
“ It is often a mistake to assume that historical narratives transcend their particular time and place, yet to my mind it is impossible to read Frenkel’s memoir without feeling its contemporary resonance; to hear the voices of the hundreds of thousands of Frenkels who today flee over different borders, for different reasons, with the same urgency and confronting the same indifference that Frenkel’s memoir hauntingly conveys. Recognising that these struggles have yet again become commonplace is perhaps the most poignant aspect of reading Frenkel’s memoir, as well as the most important reason that its translation and republication should be undertaken today. ”
Avril Alba, Australian Book Review
“ Frenkel wrote [this] in 1943–44, so the events are recent and the prose has a terrible immediacy. Certain episodes burn into the reader’s vision with the intensity of nightmares. As well as a riveting account of her own experience, Frenkel offers intriguing insights into the behaviour of French people under occupation. Frenkel’s portrait of a people she loved is a complex and unsettling view of humanity, in all its shifting shades. Inevitably, it makes us wonder how we would act in the circumstances, and forces us to face the probably disappointing truth. ”
Emily Rhodes, The Spectator UK
“ Frenkel’s attempts to escape over the border to Switzerland, from December 1942, are as gripping as any thriller. No Place to Lay One’s Head is a stark and chilling account of what happens when a society turns rotten and the rot spreads. It is all the more shocking because the tone is so matter-of-fact. There’s a singing simplicity to the writing. We don’t know much about what happened to Frenkel after her escape. What we do know is that we owe her a huge debt of gratitude. In sharing her bitter taste of bitter history, she has shown us the worst of humanity — but also the best. ”
Christina Patterson, The Sunday Times
May 1, 2017
Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au
May 1, 2017
Random House Australia
I don’t know exactly when I first felt the calling to be a bookseller. As a very young girl, I could spend hours leafing through a picture book or a large illustrated tome.
My favourite presents were books, which would pile up on the shelves along the walls of my childhood bedroom.
For my sixteenth birthday, my parents allowed me to order my own bookcase. To the astonishment of the joiner, I designed and had built an armoire to be glazed on all four sides. I positioned this piece of furniture of my dreams in the middle of my bedroom.
Not wanting to spoil my delight, my mother let me be and I was able to admire my classics in the publishers’ beautiful bindings, and the modern, contemporary authors whose bindings I would lovingly choose myself, indulging my imagination.Continue Reading