By Kim Sherwood
A prize-winning literary timeslip novel about what happens after you survive. A young woman uncovers the truth about her family's past as Hungarian Jews who came to Britain in 1945.
Winner of the Bath Novel Award
The letter was in the Blue Room - her grandfather's painting studio, where Eva spent the happier days of her childhood. After his death, she is the one responsible for his legacy - a legacy threatened by the letter she finds. It is from the Jewish Museum in Berlin.
They have found the testimony her grandfather gave after surviving the labour camps in Austria. And, since he was one of Britain's greatest twentieth century artists, they want to exhibit it. But Joseph Silk - leaving behind József Zyyad - remade himself long ago.
As Eva begins to uncover the truth, she understands the trauma, and the lies, that have haunted her family. She will unravel what happened to József and his brother, who came to England as refugees. One never spoke of his past - the other couldn't let it go.
Their story - and that of the woman they both loved - is in her hands. Revealing it would change her grandfather's hard-won identity. But it could also change the tide of history. This testament can lend words to wordless grief, and teach her how to live.
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, loss and our place within history.
Kim Sherwood was born in Camden in 1989. She studied on the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, going on to teach creative writing at UEA and the University of Sussex. Kim's stories and articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Mslexia, Lighthouse, and Going Down Swinging. The manuscript of her debut novel, Testament, won the 2016 Bath Novel Award.
Kim began writing Testament in 2011 after her grandfather, the actor George Baker, passed away. In the same year, Kim's grandmother began to talk about her experiences as a Holocaust Survivor for the first time. These events provided seeds for a story that grew as Kim undertook research into the events of the Holocaust in Hungary, and as extremism rose again across Europe.
Kim lives in Bath. She is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of the West of England and runs creative writing sessions for prisoners with Mass Observation Archive. Testament is her first novel.
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- Publication date:
12 Jul 2018
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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