‘From the million copy bestselling author of Fresh Water for Flowers‘
– Forgotten On Sunday
[ About Forgotten on Sunday ]
Justine is 21 years old and has lived with her grandparents and cousin Jules since the death of her parents. She works as a carer at a retirement home and spends her days listening to her residents’ stories.
After bonding with Hélène, an almost 100-year-old resident, the two women slowly reveal their stories to one another. Whilst Justine helps Helene to relive her memories of love and war, Helene encourages Justine to confront the secrets of her own past, and the loss she has buried deep within.
One day, trouble arrives in the form of a mysterious phone call that shakes the retirement home to its core and uncovers a shocking revelation.
At once humorous and melancholic, Valerie Perrin’s debut novel is a story of how the past can shape our present, and the scars of undeclared love.
[ My Review ]
Forgotten on Sunday by Valérie Perrin will be published on July 27th with Europa Editions UK and is translated from the French by Hildegarde Serle. Described as ‘melancholic and humorous, a story of past, present and undeclared love, and friendship across the generations‘, Forgotten on Sunday is the debut novel by Valérie Perrin. Originally published in France in 2015 and winning the Booksellers Choice Award, the paperback edition has been a long-selling best-seller since. I have read Fresh Water for Flowers and Three, both by Valérie Perrin, and was an immediate fan. Valérie Perrin evokes so many emotions with her writing. It is profound and beautiful storytelling with a style that is very much her own. When I was sent a copy of Forgotten on Sunday by the publisher I was really excited to see where this most captivating of authors started her journey writing novels and I was certainly not disappointed.
Justine Neige is twenty-one years old and has worked in a local retirement home as a care assistant for three years. Her parents were both killed in a tragic car accident when she was younger and she has lived much of her life with her grandparents and her cousin Jules. Justine is not like the other young adults her age. She has no ambition beyond the town where she lives. Justine likes the company of the residents in the home. She loves to listen to their stories and to keep them company when no one else visits them.
‘Old folks, since that’s all they have left to do, can tell the past like no one else. Don’t bother searching in books or movies: like no one else…I understood that, with the elderly, it’s enough just to touch them, to hold their hand, for them to talk.’
Justine is very gentle and kind with all the residents of The Hydrangeas, willingly working longer hours, absorbing their company and understanding their needs. Hélène Hel, a resident of nearly 100 years of age, stays in room 19 and it is to her that Justine gravitates the most. Nicknamed ‘The Beach Lady’, she is the only one among the geriatric population that Justine calls by her first name. Justine is drawn to the stories she tells and has started to gather Hélène’s thoughts in a blue notebook, pulling the story of her life together into a coherent form. Along the way, Justine uncovers a remarkable tale of passion and war but unexpectedly the secrets of her own past begin to spill out, with revelations beyond anything she could possibly have anticipated.
In true form, Valérie Perrin has written another beautiful novel that pulls at all the heartstrings. Forgotten on Sunday threads the past and present into a stunning tale about secrets and lies, passion and grief, war and fear. The depiction of the brutality of the Second World War, recounted via the memories of Hélène, feels lived, as though we are hearing the true story of a woman who dealt with unimaginable pain and tragedy. In parallel, Justine’s story is heart-breaking as the layers are revealed of past deeds, vengeance and mistakes.
Forgotten on Sunday is a descriptive and stunning portrayal of lives that have suffered injustice and survived adversity. Written with a very sensitive hand and an elegant style, Valérie Perrin captures the relationship between Justine and Hélène beautifully. Affecting and melancholic with a lightness and warmth intertwined throughout the novel, Forgotten on Sunday is a truly gorgeous addition to any bookshelf and is a must for all fans of this exquisite writer.
[ Bio ]
Valérie Perrin was born in 1967 in Remiremont, in the Vosges Mountains, France. She grew up in Burgundy and settled in Paris in 1986. Her novel The Forgotten Sunday (2015) won the Booksellers Choice Award and the paperback edition has been long-selling best-seller since publication.
Her English-language debut, Fresh Water for Flowers (Europa, 2020) won the Maison de la Presse Prize, the Paperback Readers Prize, and was named a 2020 ABA Indies Introduce and Indie Next List title. It has been translated into over thirty languages. Figaro Littéraire named Perrin one of the ten best-selling authors in France in 2019, and in Italy, Fresh Water for Flowers was the best selling book of 2020.
Perrin now lives in Normandy.
Twitter ~ @valerieperrin_