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Janis Spehr

The light at the edge of the sky

Nineteen-forty: the German army continues its rampage across Europe. Paris, the City of Light, occupied by a foreign power, its citizens starved of both food and freedom, has become a place where survival is fraught, surveillance constant and friendships and allegiances fracture and shift. Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach, friends, booksellers and former lovers wait anxiously for news of Gisèle Freund, photographer and Jewish refugee from fascism who is hiding out in southern France. When a member from Gisèle 's political past reappears in Paris, pressure is put on this already fragile triangular relationship. Gisèle flees from a Europe decimated by war to South America, where she finds safety from the forces of bigotry and oppression. However, she cannot escape her own history of guilt and loss. Only a chance encounter in Buenos Aires enables her to begin to lay her ghosts to rest and begin a new phase of life. Told in haunting, elegiac prose, Janis Spehr's short, exquisite novel is about jealousy, betrayal and exile. It is also a thrilling story of courage and survival as well as testimony to the enduring power of art and a tribute to all those who seek to bear witness to their time.


187 printed pages
Original publication
2021

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