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Staff Pick of the Week: The People in the Photo by Helene Gestern


Winner of more than 15 awards in France, this week’s staff pick is the beautifully translated The People in the Photo by Helene Gestern. Knowing very little about her mother, Parisian archivist Helene attempts to track down two men she finds in a photo. Along the way she meets Stephane, the son of one the men who also has questions about his father. The discovery of further photographs leads to the unraveling of mysteries and the development of a love story told through letters, emails and text messages.

“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.” —Amazon

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