‘What a writer. I was totally captivated. Moving and ultimately uplifting’ HEATHER MORRIS, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Beautiful, subtle, elegiac’ AMIT CHAUDHURI
WINNER OF THE BATH NOVEL AWARD
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.
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.
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 * 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 * 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 * 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 * 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, author of In Our Mad and Furious City * 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 * 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 * 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 * 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 *