The People in the Photo

The People in the Photo

by Hélène Gestern

Translated by Emily Boyce and Ros Schwartz

Published by: Gallic Books Limited

Imprint: Gallic Books

240 Pages, 5.00 x 7.00 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781908313546
  • Published: June 2014


  • Hardcover
  • 9781910477496
  • Published: November 2017


"Every note of the characters' correspondence rings true."—Le Nouvel Observateur

"A page-turning novel with a skilfully woven plot."—Page des Libraires

"Rich in deftly turned prose and subtle character study."—Sud-Ouest

"A wonderful book about the archaeology of memory."—Le Magazine Littéraire

"Elegant, restrained, and poetic."—France Inter

The three figures in the photograph are frozen forever, two men and a woman bathed in sunlight . . .

The chance discovery of a newspaper image from 1971 sets two people on the path to learning the disturbing truth about their parents' pasts.

Parisian archivist Hélène takes out a newspaper advert calling for information about her mother, who died when she was three, and the two men pictured with her in a photograph taken at a tennis tournament at Interlaken in 1971. Stéphane, a Swiss biologist living in Kent, responds: his father is one of the people in the photo. Letters and more photos pass between them as they embark on a journey to uncover the truth their parents kept from them. But will the relics of the past fill the silences left by the players?

Winner of fifteen literary awards, this dark yet touching drama deftly explores the themes of blame and forgiveness, identity and love.

Hélène Gestern lives and works in Nancy, France. The People in the Photo is her first novel.