Friday, 14 November 2008

OLD REVIEW - Joseph Joffo – “Un Sac de Billes”

I knew Bryony’s ‘Book of Books’ would inspire lots od entries in this blog. How, for example, could I have forgotten Un Sac de Billes when listing my favourite books? I first read it (in its original French) after Cléme had told me about it in 1994. She was doing it as a school text and was enthralled by it.

"Un Sac de Billes" (A Bag of Marbles) are Joffo’s own memoirs, written in a novel fashion, telling the account of a young boy during the Holocaust. When Joffo was ten years old, his father gave him and his brother 5,000 francs each and instructions to flee Nazi-occupied Paris and, by foot, train and bus, join their brothers Henri and Albert in Menton on the Mediterranean coast, where they'd be safe. The book "A Bag of Marbles" tells of this journey. And where does the bag of marbles come in? Initially, he swapped his yellow Jewish star for a bag of marbles - for him it was all a game....

JOSEPH JOFFO (1931) is a prolific French author of both fiction and non-fiction but perhaps best known for Un Sac de Billes which has been translated into eighteen languages. He now lives in Paris where he owns a chain of barber’s shops.

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