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Laurence Sendrowicz is a French writer and playwright, an actor, and a translator of contemporary Hebrew literature into French. The Israeli writers whom she has translated into French include Zeruya Shalev (Prix Femina étranger 2014), Hanoch Levin, Yoram Kaniuk, and Dror Mishani. Her plays, which have toured theatres and venues across France since 2011, have been supported by the Beaumarchais Foundation and the Centre National du Livre. Sendrowicz played a pivotal role in introducing the work of Hanoch Levin, in both translation and performance, to French audiences; she staged a cabaret show of his sketches at Paris’s Théâtre de la Tempête in 2005. Since 2017, she has led a creative writing workshop at Paris-Diderot University (Paris 7). In 2018, she won the Bernheim Prize for Letters, as well as the Translation/Adaptation prize of France’s Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD). In 2012, she was awarded the SGDL Grand Prix for Translation.
Her novel They Didn’t Get the Kids will be published in Hebrew translation in 2023 by Keren Publishers, Tel Aviv.
Three of her plays—Les Cerises au kirsch, itinéraire d’un enfant sans ombre, Faute d’impression, and Ma Mère voulait—have been published by Editions Caractères, Paris.
Title: They Didn’t Get the Kids
Publisher: Keren Books
Original language: French
Translation rights: World
Audio visual rights: World
Translation: Hebrew (and French original)
One evening in 1943, in Brussels, a child of ten grabs his little brother's hand and leaves the apartment of the "lady" who, ostensibly, had been sheltering them from the repercussions of the Nazi occupation. Why, in the heat of a raging war, does he decide to throw himself and his brother into the unknown and all its dangers? In retrospect, simply trying to understand the perilous circumstances that must have forced an act so reckless is enough to drive one crazy. All the more so once one learns that after fleeing their hiding place, the two brothers wandered from orphanage to orphanage, and from deprivation to humiliation. In retrospect, this story is indeed unbearable, not least because one of the two—just like the daughter of this child, who herself is the mother of two boys—has an unrestrained imagination! “How did you survive?” With a tenacity bordering on obsession, she tirelessly cross-examines her father. He does want to engage with her concern, but is only equipped to answer her questions with his threadbare memory and a good-natured smile. Through the author’s attempts to draw out the stammering memory of a Holocaust survivor via a series of conversations, an intergenerational dialogue is established that navigates between past and present, imaginary constructions and everyday life.
And the reader is left with questions, forever left unanswered. Can we let fiction take over the facts? Dare we believe it closer to reality? Might it be due to a genetic heritage, of uncertain origins but viscerally felt in the here and now?
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