Survive presents a singular voice of the French ‘Bataclan Generation’—those most acutely conscious of the terrorist attacks in the mid-2010s—grappling with issues of memory or post-memory, trauma, and survivors’ dilemmas.
Finkelstein cuts across national and cultural contexts, from French to Argentinian and North American. This novel situates contemporary youth in a violence-saturated present with which they are all too familiar, yet from which many of them feel alienated in a plurality of difficult-to-define ways. Finkelstein touches on the challenge facing her generation: to understand their own lives as uniquely meaningful in the face of unending mass suffering.
Survive is concerned with the work of grieving for strangers—a grief which does not begin or end, but is rather a structural part of one’s being in the world. For Finkelstein, it is essential “[t]o abide. Deep inside what is dying, in the midst of the bullets going astray and the offenses accumulating, in the midst of the misunderstandings imposed on a face other than my own, on a body other than my own... to build a world that thinks, a world that gives, a world that beats—a living world.”