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Boris Cyrulnik

A Child in the War: Memoirs

Boris Cyrulnik is a neuropsychiatrist and director of studies at the University of Toulon. He is the author of many immensely successful works, notably Un merveilleux malheur, Les Vilains Petits Canards and Autobiographie d’un épouvantail, which all sold more than 200,000 copies. His recent book, Je me souviens, was also a major success.

‘Narrating one’s life certainly does not mean chronicling a sequence of events: it means organising our memories, shaping the representation of what happened to us and modifying the listener’s mental world,’ writes Boris Cyrulnik about the act of memory that he recounts in the present work.
In 1942, his parents were deported and he was sheltered and hidden. On 10 January 1944, when he was six and a half, he was picked up in a roundup of other Jews from Bordeaux, but he managed to escape — and to survive, moving from place to place, until the Liberation, when he went to live with an aunt and tried to recover the life of a child his age.
For the first time, Boris Cyrulnik recounts his early years: he seeks out each buried recollection, questions the tricks played by his memory and tries to reconstruct what he felt at every moment, while attempting to explain what he may or may not have said when peace and freedom were finally restored and how he found the strength to overcome suffering.

• Besides being the intimate account of a life that could have been shattered, this work is also the occasion for the author to plunge into an extraordinary process of self-analysis, as he delves into his emotions and the psychological labyrinth that made him who is.