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- Publisher: ATLANTIC BOOKS
- Format: Hardback | 144 pages
- Dimensions: 129mm x 186mm x 19mm | 256g
- Publication date: 1 February 2012
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1848874189
- ISBN 13: 9781848874183
- Sales rank: 241,525
It is 1942 and the Jews are being deported from Belgium. Separated from his parents, seven-year-old Joseph must go into hiding. He is taken in the dead of night to an orphanage, the Villa Jaune, where the benign and enigmatic Father Pons presides over a motley assortment of children. With the ever-present threat of the Gestapo growing closer, Joseph learns that the secret of survival is to conceal his Jewish heritage. Soon Joseph also discovers that Father Pons has a secret of his own: he is risking his life not only for the boys in his care, but for the Jewish faith itself. Sensitive, funny and deeply humane, Noah's Child is a simple fable that reveals the complexities of faith, bravery and the human condition.
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Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt is an internationally bestselling French author and playwright. Noah's Child is the fourth novel in his popular series Cycle de l'Invisible about childhood and religion. He lives in Brussels.
By Esther Bergman 04 Mar 2012
The English speaking world welcomes another classic from the renowned French author, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. In Noah's Child, we are introduced to seven year old Joseph, as he suffers his weekly humiliation of "walking the plank", in the vain hope that his parents have returned to reclaim him from his hiding place in the Villa Jaune after the Second World War has ended. Joseph, an assimilated Parisian Jew, experiences his first religious encounter at Sunday Mass and consequently, wants to embrace Catholicism with a far greater zeal than the charade Father Pons requires of him. Thanks to Joseph's curiosity, he and Father Pons establish a special relationship, which develops and illustrates the noble and kind humanity and intentions of the priestly school headmaster. It is to his credit that he only puts the children up for adoption once it has been established that their parents have not survived the war. He also insists that Joseph remains true to his religion. He terms him a "child of Noah", as he has survived against all odds. Strictly speaking though, he is a child of Abraham. Joseph is never exposed to orthodox Judaism (although Father Pons does his best), so he never really gets the chance to compare the two religions from an equal standpoint. Schmitt can say so much in a turn of phrase. We await future English translations of his other works.