Abert Cohen was born on the island of Corfu in 1895. He emigrated to France at the age of five on a passport issued by the Ottoman Empire, and was raised in Marseilles. Although he chose to become a Swiss citizen after completing law school in Geneva, he claims that his true homeland was the French language. Cohenos tragicomic novels Solal, Mangeclous, Belle de Seigneur, and Les Valeureux attempt to reconnect man to his lost humanity. Belle du Signeur was awarded the French Academyos Grand Prix du Roman. Bella Cohen was born in London on 1919. During WWII, she worked at the Free French Headquarters and with the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees. She met Albert Cohen in 1943 and shared a life with him from 1947 until his death in 1981. Her translation of Book of My Mother was a labor of love.
Book of My Mother is a sturdy in guilt, an act of contrition, for in mourning his mother he grieves for his own lost childhood... It is an achingly honest, autumnal book, generous in its humanity, composed with art but without guile, the sincerest tribute of a neglectful son. --David Coward
You must read this extraordinary testimony. --Le Figaro This book made me cry and taught me one of the truths of writing: the most successful book is the one that cuts to the heart of the fragility of the writer, and of Man. --Alain Mabanckou Brilliant . . . A miracle of patience and suppleness. --London Review of Books I do not think anyone has ever written anything more beautiful, more deeply and soberly moving, about a mother and the feelings of tenderness, regret, and even remorse that she can inspire. --Le Voix du Nord A masterpiece. A unique book that will endure. A most beautiful love story. --Marcel Pagnol That anything so sad can also be witty and sublimely comic makes Mrs. Cohen [the mother] into a triumph of literature. --Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness A gold-plated, cherry-on-top classic in France... Characters [are] rendered with eye-popping, Rabelaisian detail and touching vulgarity... Its unspooling comedy of manners; its first-ideal-then-smothering love affair all lead the reader to still-huger questions: how can we love humans, obsessed as they are with power? How can we reconcile reason and faith? --The Kenyon Review You must read this book. --Jacques Brenner, Paris-Normandie One of the most beautiful love stories ever written. --Paris-Match A most moving and delicate love song..--Le Figaro I read Livre de ma mere twice. This heartrending book haunts you. I just had to go back to it. --Emile Henriot, Academie Francaise, Le Monde You must read this extraordinary testimony of a son. Never before has a writer spoken of his mother like Albert Cohen. --Andre Billy, Academie Goncourt, Le Figaro