Testament (Paperback)Kim Sherwood (author)
Drawing enlightening parallels between art and lived experience, Testament uncovers layers of denial, mistrust and secrecy at the heart of a strained and unconventional family. Handling emotive subject matter with sensitivity and grace, Sherwood crafts an impressively accomplished debut novel about the burdens of history and our relationship to the past.
Shortlisted for the Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award 2019
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize
Winner of the Bath Novel Award
Winner of the Harpers Bazaar Big Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the Best First Novel Award
Of everyone in her complicated family, Eva was always closest to her grandfather. She is making a film about his life. She is with him when he dies.
It is only when she finds the letter from the Jewish Museum in Berlin, hidden in his painting studio, that she realises how many secrets he kept.
As she uncovers everything he endured in the Holocaust - and what it took to learn to live again - Eva is confronted by the lies that haunt her family, and a truth that changes her own identity.
Kim Sherwood's hope-filled first novel is a powerful portrait of survival echoing through the generations; a testament of love, legacy, and all the important questions we leave unasked.
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 320 g
Dimensions: 196 x 130 x 32 mm
'An important and beautifully written novel by a young writer of immense talent. I was deeply moved.' - Andrew Miller, author of Pure and Now We Shall Be Entirely Free
'Achingly powerful, Sherwood's impossibly beautiful prose captivated me from first page to last. Testament tells a fractured history as if it were an intimate memory. A work I won't soon forget.' - Guy Gunaratne, Booker-prize longlisted author of In Our Mad and Furious City
'Kim Sherwood's poetic fiction looks at history's impact and the morality of forgetting . . . Her writing is elegant and highly effective. This novel explores big ideas - some of the biggest ideas there are - but its power as a work of fiction lies in the personal . . . Sherwood pulls the threads of her narrative together with great skill to deliver a sad and beautiful book.' - Kathleen MacMahon, Irish Times
'Moving and vivid.' - Leaf Arbuthnot, Sunday Times
'Powerful and moving . . . Hugely poignant, beautifully written.' - Rebecca Wilcock, Independent
'What a writer. I was totally captivated. A compelling, moving and ultimately uplifting story that delivered on its promise to fill the void left by loss.' - Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
'What is exceptional about Kim Sherwood's compassionate, poetic and deeply researched novel, is the way she interweaves the twisted threads of his story . . . Sherwood has taken on the major tragedy of the 20th century with a psychological insight rare in a writer who is not yet 30 . . . Unbearably poignant.' - Gloria Tessler, Jewish Chronicle
'Sherwood writes with a beauty and bravery that befits Holocaust remembrance and honours the strength of the human spirit.' - Press Association
'An extraordinary book; sad but optimistic, that enshrines the human spirit.I was so moved by the way it shows blessed creativity thriving even in the depths of hell.' - Patrick Gale
'I am absorbed by the delicacy, even the beauty, with which she writes of the trauma of history . . . It's a real pleasure to see Sherwood approaching this theme - to do with how we discover, read, and reread our past - with subtlety, playfulness, and elegiac sadness.' - Amit Chaudhuri, Best Books of 2017, Open Magazine
'A truly heartfelt, stunning debut.' - Saga
'Testament is ambitious, beautiful and brave. A vital act of remembrance of the Holocaust, it's also a deeply involving story that reaches across generations to speak to our own troubled times. How many debuts are actually important? This one is.' - Polly Clark, author of Larchfield
'A remarkably powerful, moving, assured and beautiful novel heralding the debut of a major writer. I couldn't be more impressed.' - Robert Drewe, author of Swimming to the Moon
'Testament is a masterfully composed and ambitious novel that really grips its reader - intense, full of hard-researched detail and vivid, original language. It is a remarkable first book that avoids the trap of many Holocaust books by understanding the idea of responsibility beyond the original trauma.' - George Szirtes, poet and International Man Booker Prize-winning translator of The World Goes On
'In her astonishingly assured debut novel, Kim Sherwood explores how we remake ourselves and learn to live with the secrets of the past. But she also reminds us that every portrait of British people is a portrait of the world. A moving, elegant meditation on identity and the masks we must all sometimes wear.' - Christopher Fowler
'Every now and then there is a first novel that stops you in your tracks. Testament is one such. It enters dangerous territory - the Holocaust - but does so not only with humanity but a startling control of language, images which surprise and stay in the mind. There is a search at its heart to understand the life of a man but equally to comprehend a past whose echoes still reverberate in private lives, still have the power to disturb public equanimity and challenge the writer. Here is a novelist born whole and entire.' - Christopher Bigsby, author of Remembering and Imagining the Holocaust
'This ambitious debut novel sensitively grapples [with] the effects of trauma through the generations.' - Imogen Woodberry, Literary Review
'A rare thing - could easily be a third or fourth novel, so fluidly and gorgeously does it read. Sherwood's characters are finely nuanced and her poetic prose is every bit as exquisite . . . Stunning.' - Clare Mulley, Skinny
'A powerful debut.' - Image
'Testament unspools in dual narratives - the scarifying past, from Joseph's perspective, and the ripples across time and place it causes in Eva's present. A sensitive and searching novel about Holocaust survivors and their families, it scales a mountain of repressed emotion and feels drawn from life.' - Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald
'Startling, raw and intense, this is a novel which compels you to read it, almost daring you in its quiet delivery, to look away. It is unputdownable and it is beautiful.' - Literature Works
'Interwoven with the darkness Sherwood dropped little glimmers of hope, of redemption and of love . . . Sherwood's writing is immersive and compelling, filled with emotion and poignancy and I defy anyone not to be affected by the words that they read. Stunning.' - Amanda Duncan, My Bookish Blog
'A thing of beauty . . . Where Kim Sherwood will really see you undone is in the small acts of kindness that are candles held against a storm. Those were the moments I had to lower the page and take a breath . . .There are so many lines in this book that stay with you.' - Van is Reading
'Sherwood's prose, poetic and brutal . . . A brilliant debut and an important piece of literature.' - Lyndsy Spence, The Lady
'Impeccably researched. Sherwood explores memory, identity, survivor's guilt and loss with tremendous acuity. Her skilful interweaving of fact and fiction is impressive and various plot twists keep us guessing until the final pages. Love, in its various forms, is threaded through the novelas a redemptive force. Countless novels depict the horrors of the Holocaust and yet Sherwood's treatment feels original. Given the rise of the far right in Hungary, it is particularly timely.' - Lucy Popescu, New Humanist
'This extraordinary debut novel from the Camden-born writer ... moves seamlessly between eras and geographies, skilfully interweaving the stories of multiple generations.' - Harper's Bazaar
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