«À l'automne 1983, je quitte ma campagne au pied du Jura, pour suivre des cours à l'école du Louvre. Je découvre Saint-Germain-des-Prés, ses librairies, ses éditeurs, ses cafés, ses cabarets. Mais en Suisse, à la ferme, mon père est malade. J'apprends qu'il est à l'agonie le jour où je croise le nom d'Herschel Grynszpan, un adolescent juif ayant fui l'Allemagne nazie en 1936, et cherché refuge à Paris.
Il m'a fallu trente ans pour raconter son histoire en explorant celle de ma propre famille. J'ai frappé à de nombreuses portes, y compris celles des tombeaux. J'ai voyagé en carriole aux côtés de ma grand-mère, de ma mère et de mes deux oncles fuyant Berlin sous les bombardements alliés. Je me suis embarqué pour Alexandrie en compagnie de mes grands-parents paternels, et j'ai assisté à la naissance de mon père dans une maison blanche au bord du désert. Un père dont j'ai tenu la main sur son lit de mort, avant de découvrir son secret. Herschel a cheminé à mes côtés durant mes périples, autant que j'ai cherché à retrouver sa trace.»
Philippe Rahmy.
  • Vermillon
  • Paru le 31/08/2017
  • Genre : Littérature française
  • 208 pages - 140 x 205 mm
  • EAN : 9782710385332
  • ISBN : 9782710385332

Foreign Rights


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"In the fall of 1983, I leave my native countryside at the foot of the Jura mountains to join the “école du Louvre”. I work at the restaurant Le Conti to pay for my studies, and live in an attic room in the Mazarine Street, right next to the one where Champollion had deciphered hieroglyphs. Dazzled by the city lights, I discover Saint-Germain-des-Prés, its bookshops, publishing houses, cafés and cabarets. But back home, at the farm in Switzerland, my father is ill. I learn that he is dying the very day I come across Herschel Grynszpan’s name; he was a Jewish teenager who escaped Nazi Germany in 1936, and who sought refuge in Paris.

For some deeply buried reasons, that I acknowledge today, it took me thirty years to tell his story while exploring the one of my family. My investigation throughout time and space has spread over two continents and three generations. I knocked at many doors, including tombstones’. Some of them opened, leading to the encounters and friendships that fed this book. I don’t know what my life would have been without literature, but I know that each path of mine leads to the South of the Mediterranean, be it a path of the adventurer’s impossible dream, or a path walked along pen in hand.

I have travelled in a cart with my grandmother Gertrud, with my mother and both my uncles who were escaping Berlin and the Allies’ bombings. I left Heilbronn, in the South of Germany, overnight, and went to Tel-Aviv with my grant-aunt Charlotte, chased by the Nazis. I boarded the Étoile matutine towards Alexandria with Yvonne and Ali, my paternal grandparents, and I witnessed my father’s birth, in a white house on the edge of the desert. A father whose hand I held on his deathbed, before I found out his secret.

Herschel has walked by my side during my journeys, for as long as I have tried to trace him. My travel with this ghost has led me way further than I had imagined. Together we have crossed many frontiers, until we found the one of forgiveness."

Philippe Rahmy

Born in Geneva in 1965, Philippe Rahmy, who trained as an Egyptologist, had two books of poetry published by Cheyne Éditeur: Mouvement par la fin, with an afterword by Jacques Dupin (2005), and Demeure le corps (2007). In 2013, La Table Ronde published a personal account, Béton armé that won several literary prizes and was elected LIRE magazine’s travel book of the year. His first novel, Allegra, which received the Eugène Rambert Prize and the Swiss Literature Prize, was published by la Table Ronde in 2016, followed by Monarques (2017), and Pardon pour l'Amérique (2018). Philippe Rahmy died in Lausanne on October 1, 2017.

"There is, in Rahmy’s writing, a certain manner of assembling sentences, of constructing the page, and a rigor, that are different from the usual stylistic effects or aesthetic concerns – their strength comes from their ethical nature.”

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