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Cover for If


A Mother's Memoir

Lise Marzouk, Adriana Hunter (Translated by)


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An eloquent, heartfelt account of a young boy's fight with cancer and of a mother's determination and resilience, which see their family through to his recovery.

As her ten-year-old son sits at the kitchen table one evening, Lise Marzouk inspects his mouth and discovers an unusual growth, which doctors later confirm is cancerous. When he is hospitalized at the Curie Institute in Paris for lymphoma treatment, Lise finds herself torn between two worlds, one at his bedside, and the other at home with her two younger children, struggling to maintain a sense of stability in their lives. And so she writes—of their fears and doubts, but also of their moments of tenderness and joy—and through these memories, stories, and reveries, she arrives at a deeper understanding of herself as a woman, a mother, and a writer.

Brimming with a rebellious sense of hope, If offers an intimate look at how a mother's love and support enabled her family to come out of a devastating experience stronger and more connected.

Praise For If: A Mother's Memoir

“The author documents her fears, doubts and tender memories of caring for a sick son and two other children.” —New York Times Book Review

“[Marzouk’s] determination and sheer willpower to endure this ordeal shine through on nearly every page…A powerful, emotionally resonant memoir.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Out of a mother’s tragedy comes a full scope of emotions, thoughts, and strategies for combatting the unbearable pain and sorrow of possibly losing her child. It is with a raw honesty and intricate precision that Lise Marzouk shares her terrifying experience." —Cécile David-Weill, author of Parents Under the Influence: Words of Wisdom from a Former Bad Mother

“Powerful…gripping…takes your breath away.” —La République des livres
“A masterful work, a hymn to love.” —L’Infirmière magazine
“A beautiful story…Admirable in its precision and delicacy.” —Le Monde des livres

Other Press, 9781590510971, 352pp.

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

About the Author

Lise Marzouk has published several nonfiction titles in France on myths and the imaginary. If is her first memoir and English language debut.

Adriana Hunter studied French and Drama at the University of London. She has translated more than eighty books, including Véronique Olmi’s Bakhita and Hervé Le Tellier’s Eléctrico W, winner of the French-American Foundation’s 2013 Translation Prize in Fiction. She lives in Kent, England.