Novel Writers: Kim Sherwood
Each month we invite a debut novelist to read from and talk about their work in an informal setting. Topics of discussion include theme, structure, inspiration and the craft of writing. These sessions are a great way to discover new writing talent and great books.
Kim Sherwood’s extraordinary first novel is a powerful statement of intent. Beautifully written, moving and hopeful, it crosses the tidemark where the third generation meets the first, finding a new language to express love, legacy and our place within history.
Of everyone in her complicated family, Eva was closest to her grandfather: a charismatic painter – and a keeper of secrets. So when he dies, she’s hit by a greater loss – of the questions he never answered, and the past he never shared. It’s then she finds the letter from the Jewish Museum in Berlin. They have uncovered the testimony he gave after his forced labour service in Hungary, which took him to the death camps and then to England as a refugee. This is how he survived. But there is a deeper story that Eva will unravel – of how her grandfather learnt to live afterwards. As she confronts the lies that have haunted her family, their identity shifts and her own takes shape. The testament is in her hands.
This novel explores big ideas – some of the biggest ideas there are – but its power as a work of fiction lies in the personal.
Kathleen Macmahon, The Irish Times