By Frederika Amalia Finkelstein
Translated by Isabel Cout & Christopher Elson
Forgetting is a brief but searing sojourn inside the mind of Alma as she navigates the complexity of the past and future within her identity.
Publication Date: November 7, 2023
On her nighttime wanderings through a Paris saturated with cultural and historical meaning, Alma begins the slow work of grieving for her grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, and begins to unravel the ways that his experience continues to reverberate across generations. The journey, both inward and outward, simple and infinitely varied, brings Alma to reconsider her whole life and the circumstances that led to her very birth.
In Forgetting, Finkelstein sheds new light on the oldest dilemmas, asking: "What to do with the brief time that is given to us?"
Frederika Amalia Finkelstein is a French writer and author of two novels: Forgetting and Survive. Upon its 2014 release in France, Forgetting was met with great critical success and has since been translated into multiple languages.
Isabel Cout is a translator in Montreal, Quebec. Her research concerns literary works by third generation authors (grandchildren of Holocaust survivors) who write about having ambivalent relationships to the traumatic memory they’ve inherited. This is her first published literary translation.
Christopher Elson has a background in Philosophy and French Studies and holds a doctorate in Contemporary Literature from Université Paris IV-Sorbonne. He is a member of the Joint Faculty of the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University. He is currently editor of Dalhousie French Studies and music columnist for the Dalhousie Review. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia with his wife Kate.
"Finkelstein’s fascinating English-language debut chronicles a 20-something woman grappling with intergenerational trauma in 2010s France … Grounded by its protagonist’s distinctive, powerful voice, the novel brims with thought-provoking reflections on such weighty subjects as the passage of time and the politics of history and memory ('We made the victims into a cluster of numbers, and then we turned the executioners into a tangle of myths,' Alma notes about the Holocaust). Slim but impactful, this is a must-read." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"A walk through Paris in the early hours of the morning reveals the rich, complex interiority of Finkelstein’s protagonist … Alma is tormented by the Holocaust; she’s obsessed with technology, Coke and Pepsi, and Daft Punk’s 'One More Time.' She’s somewhere between 'twenty and twenty-five years old,' an insomniac, and alone in Paris. As night bleeds into morning, she wanders the empty streets, ruminating upon the life of her grandfather—a Polish Holocaust survivor—as well as her own childhood … A brilliant, peculiar confrontation with genealogy and inheritance." —Kirkus Reviews