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Silent Letter    by Yitzchak Mayer order for
Silent Letter
by Yitzchak Mayer
Order:  USA  Can
Mosaic Press, 2017 (2017)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

This is definitely a tour de force by author Mayer, and a beautiful translation by Binyamin Shalom. Mayer has managed to get into the mind and heart of the writer of this letter, who happens to be his mother, as she recounts what happened to her and her two sons after her husband was taken away in France, never to be seen again.

A mother, pregnant and with two young sons, who doesn't speak French, has to have a giant will to get to Switzerland, where she can hope for some respite. She has to do this while all sorts of doubts assail her and with no assistance whatsoever. Her sons, Erwin and Jacky, are the only ones she can speak to, and she must depend on Erwin (the author) to be her translator in France. To everyone else she is mute.

We read her anxious thoughts, the story of how she got where she is, her steadfast belief that she will see her husband again and her total love and admiration for her children, who seem able to take the horror of their life in stride. Their travels through France and over the border to Switzerland, where all is also definitely not easy, are truly gripping. This is a heartbreaking, nail-biting story of love, grit and determination.

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