An Actress in Occupied Paris
The winner of nine literary awards in France, including the Prix Simone Veil, celebrating a woman of action, Bérénice 1934–44: An Actress in Occupied Paris is Isabelle Stibbe’s poignant debut novel. Now translated into English by Zack Rogow and Renée Morel, Bérénice 1934–44 reveals a young woman’s struggle to fulfill her career aspirations while concealing herself in war-torn France.
Bérénice yearns to become an actress, but her parents insist that career is not proper for a girl. She defies her Jewish family to become the leading younger actress in the Comédie-Française, France’s most renowned theater, right when the Nazis occupy France. Bérénice hides her true identity and last name to avoid detection. Living in a world without tolerance and torn between two lovers, Bérénice must choose between her passion for the stage, and her allegiance to freedom and to her Jewish heritage.
Critical Praise for the Original French Edition:
"This is an amazing first novel.”—Le Nouvel Observateur
“Isabelle Stibbe blends real history and fictitious characters in this well-researched first novel, with an impeccable classic style.”—Le Monde
“Her novel doesn’t just document a slice of French cultural life under the Occupation—it also communicates the passion and fervor of its author.”—Livres Hebdo
“Bérénice 1934-44 is Isabelle Stibbe’s first novel, but it feels to the reader like the work of a seasoned writer, particularly in her masterful blending of fiction and historical fact.”—Le Figaro
About the Translators
Zack Rogow’s translations from French include works by Colette, George Sand, André Breton, and Marcel Pagnol. He received the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Award and the Northern California Book Reviewers Award in Translation. He is the author, editor, or translator of twenty books or plays. www.zackrogow.com
Renée Morel is a translator and native French speaker. She teaches French at City College of San Francisco. Morel also lectures throughout the Bay Area on French culture, art, and civilization, from the Gauls to de Gaulle. Her translations include Shipwrecked on a Traffic Island and Other Previously Untranslated Gems by Colette, with Zack Rogow, published by State University of New York Press.
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