Franoise Frenkel, Patrick Modiano – foreword – A Bookshop in Berlin


Winner of the JQ-Wingate Literary Prize

“A beautiful and important book” (The Independent) in the tradition of rediscovered works like Suite Franaise and The Nazi Officers Wife, the prize-winning memoir of a fearless Jewish bookseller on a harrowing fight for survival across Nazi-occupied Europe.

In 1921, Franoise Frenkel – a Jewish woman from Poland – fulfills a dream. She opens La Maison du Livre, Berlins first French bookshop, attracting artists and diplomats, celebrities and poets. The shop becomes a haven for intellectual exchange as Nazi ideology begins to poison the culturally rich city. In 1935, the scene continues to darken. First come the new bureaucratic hurdles, followed by frequent police visits and book confiscations.

Franoises dream finally shatters on Kristallnacht in November 1938, as hundreds of Jewish shops and businesses are destroyed. La Maison du Livre is miraculously spared, but fear of persecution eventually forces Franoise on a desperate, lonely flight to Paris. When the city is bombed, she seeks refuge across Southern France, witnessing countless horrors: children torn from their parents, mothers throwing themselves under buses. Secreted away from one safe house to the next, Franoise survives at the heroic hands of strangers risking their lives to protect her.

Published quietly in 1945, then rediscovered nearly 60 years later in an attic, A Bookshop in Berlin is a remarkable story of survival and resilience, of human cruelty and human spirit. In the tradition of Suite Franaise and The Nazi Officers Wife, this audiobook is the tale of a fearless woman whose lust for life and literature refuses to leave her, even in her darkest hours.

Author: Franoise Frenkel, Patrick Modiano – foreword
Narrator: Jilly Bond
Duration: 6 hours 26 minutes
Released: 19 Mar 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Language: English

User Review:

insider doctrinaire

The vocals (i.e. the acting) of this book is not very good at times. Overall, the actor seems to speak French, but cannot or does not speak English with a French accent. It would really help distinguish between voices if different accents were used, which other actors seem capable of doing. Also, the tone of voice is at times very difficult to listen to. The story is pretty amazing, and I understand that it is kind of like a diary or real life account, so it’s understandable that it doesn’t always read like a novel. The chronology at the end kind of confused me because the writer makes no mention of a spouse, but the chronology mentions a man in exile who was her husband. I’m still a little confused about that.