A young woman moves across an ocean to uncover the truth about her grandparents’ mysterious estrangement and pieces together the extraordinary story of their wartime experiences.
In 1948, after surviving World War II by escaping
Nazi-occupied France to refugee camps in Switzerland, the author’s
grandparents, Anna and Armand, bought an old stone house in a remote,
picturesque village in the South of France. Five years later, Anna packed her
bags and walked out on Armand, taking the typewriter and their children. Aside
from one brief encounter, the two never saw or spoke to each other again, never
remarried, and never revealed what had divided them forever.
A Fifty-Year Silence is the deeply
involving account of Miranda Richmond Mouillot’s journey to find out what
happened between her grandmother, a physician, and her grandfather, an
interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials, who refused to utter his wife’s name aloud
after she left him. To discover the roots of their embittered and
entrenched silence, Miranda abandons her plans for the future and moves to
their stone house, now a crumbling ruin; immerses herself in letters, archival
materials, and secondary sources; and teases stories out of her reticent—and
declining—grandparents. As she reconstructs how Anna and Armand braved
overwhelming odds and how the knowledge her grandfather acquired at Nuremberg
destroyed their relationship, Miranda wrestles with the legacy of trauma, the
burden of history, and the complexities of memory. She also finds herself
learning how not only to survive but to thrive—making a home in the village
and falling in love.
With warmth, humor, and rich, evocative details that bring
her grandparents’ outsize characters and their daily struggles vividly to life, A
Fifty-Year Silence is a heartbreaking, uplifting love story
spanning two continents and three generations. Download and start listening now!