The Department of Missing Persons

Written by Ruth Zylberman | Translated by Grace McQuillan
Arcade Publishing
2017 - October
Written by Ruth Zylberman
Translated by Grace McQuillan

A startling debut novel about the burden of Holocaust memory and the implacable zest for life.

Thirty-six years after her mother was liberated from Bergen-Belsen, the unnamed narrator lives a comfortable life in Paris. Her mother sees ghosts at every turn, longing to find the family that disappeared behind the miasma of the Holocaust, but she cannot reconcile her mother's trauma to the cheery bustle of daily life that surrounds them. The pain of memories that are not hers haunt her, weighing all too heavily until she is incapacitated by them, unable forge her own future.


About the auhtor: Ruth Zylberman was born in 1971 in Paris. She is an acclaimed documentary film maker and director at ARTE, a television channel in Paris. Her filmography credentials include The Man Without Pain, 68 Year Zero, and Dissidents. She currently resides in Paris, France.

Publisher's website


"A shock... Can one make fiction of the unspeakable, the unnarrateable?... What is troubling in this novel is how Ruth Zylberman describes the degree to which this past interferes with her and her narrator's love life and even affects the walks she takes with her mother in the streets of Paris." —France Info

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