“Is this how one becomes an artist? By growing accustomed to the madness of others?”
The international bestseller: the tragic and triumphant story of one of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary but little-known artists. ‘Sad, beautiful, indignant, wrenching, important’ Sarah Perry, author of THE ESSEX SERPENT
Charlotte Salomon is born into a family stricken by suicide and a country at war. But there is something exceptional about her - she has a gift, a talent for painting. And she has a great love, for a brilliant, eccentric musician. But just as she is coming into her own as an artist, death is coming to control her country. The Nazis have come to power and, as a Jew in Berlin, Charlotte’s life is narrowing, and she knows every second is precious.
Inspiring, unflinching, terrible and hopeful, Charlotte is the heartbreaking true story of a life filled with curiosity, animated by genius and cut short by hatred.
“I am deeply, deeply affected by this sad, beautiful, indignant, wrenching, important book … It is an artistic privilege and (I think) almost a moral duty that you all read this”
Sarah Perry, Author Of The Essex Serpent
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“Foenkinos writes arrestingly about Charlotte, masterfully imagining her interior life … So much space on the page visually transforms each paragraph into a stanza, while lending the words a solemn weight and power … [A] beautiful, wretched story”
“An astonishing novel. Every line has something profound to say about love and loss, hope and fear, time and memory, and the enduring power of art”
Andrew Michael Hurley, Author Of The Loney
“From its striking first sentence there is no turning away … A far superior tribute to any commemorative plaque”
“Each sentence begins on a new line, giving it the deceptive look of a long poem. The success of this approach, loyally managed by Sam Taylor in his translation, is the make Charlotte read as a series of tricker-tape bulletins, delivered in breathless fits and starts”
london Review Of Books
David Foenkinos is an award-winning French novelist and screenwriter. Charlotte, inspired by the life of Charlotte Salomon, won the Prix Renaudot and the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens; it has sold more than half a million copies in France and been translated into nineteen languages.
Sam Taylor previously translated HHhH, by Laurent Binet, and is the author of the novels The Island at the End of the World, The Amnesiac and The Republic of Trees. He lives in France and the United States.
Charlotte Salomon was born in Berlin, 1917. Unknown in her lifetime, she was one of Germany’s great modern artists. Her greatest achievement was Life? or Theatre? A Song-play - an autobiographical series of 769 works, which she painted over two years in the South of France while in hiding from the Nazis. It has gone on to inspire films, plays and an opera. Salomon died in Auschwitz in 1943, gassed along with her unborn child shortly after her arrival.