Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Fifty Year Silence: Love, War and a Ruined House in France

A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France  A Fifty Year Silence: Love, War and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillet

War changes a person.  You don’t come out the same person you were when you went in.  Anna and Armand were no exception.  At one point, about five years after surviving World War II, Anna walked away.  She took her children, her typewriter, closed the door and left.  And fifty years later, she was still married to Armand but they had not spoken to nor seen each other in all that time. Nor did they explain to anyone what happened to spur that decision.

Miranda Richmond Mouillot loved both her grandparents though she saw her grandmother much more than her grandfather, who lived still in Europe and only came here for an occasional visit, missing all the milestones of life, and always when he knew he would never accidentally see Anna.

Anna was a physician and Armand was, after the war, an interpreter at the Nuremberg trials.  Both survived the war mostly in refugee situations barely seeing each other.  You could count their time together in marriage in months.

Now both are old and frail and Miranda is determined to understand this animosity. She moves to the crumbling, abandoned medieval stone house in France that her grandparents still owned and immerses herself in archives, letters, convoluted stories from her grandparents, and history, to put together their story, their legacy of grief  and trauma and hope passed on now to a third generation. 

I admired the author’s tenacity in unravelling this story, sticking with what seemed to me insurmountable odds, stubbornness and tenderness and even humor to ‘find’ her grandparents once and for all.

 This book was provided by Blogging for Books

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