Children of Pithiviers
By Sheila Kohler
Other Press, Paperback, 9781590512067, 176pp.
Publication Date: June 17, 2006
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In the summer of 1942, more than two thousand Jewish children were interned in a concentration camp in Pithiviers, in the Loiret region of France. From this shameful chapter of history, Sheila Kohler weaves an extraordinary and compelling novel first published in 2001 and now appearing in paperback for the first time.
In Children of Pithiviers, a pair of young sisters escape deportation and find shelter with a local aristocratic couple known to all as Madame and Monsieur. Seventeen years later, a beautiful young Sorbonne student arrives to spend the summer as a "paying guest" of Madame and Monsieur, whose fortunes have diminished considerably since the war. Eighteen-year-old Deirdre discovers a diary kept by the two Jewish girls. In doing so, she not only learns their fate, but reawakens old suspicions, and old appetites on the estate.
Sheila Kohler is the author of six previous novels, including Crossways, The Perfect Place, Cracks, and Children of Pithiviers (all available in Other Press editions). A native of South Africa, she makes her home in New York City and teaches at Bennington College in Vermont.
“Kohler’s slim volume holds in its easy grasp the liveliness and corruption, the yearning and the evil that run just below our civilized skins."
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Artful . . . sensual and psychological . . . it stays with you like the words of the doomed children."
Margot Livesey, author of Banishing Verona and Eva Moves the Furniture
“Intricate and endlessly surprising. . . . A beautiful and important book.”