“Book of My Mother” published in Persian

March 2, 2022 - 18:2

TEHRAN – A Persian translation of Swiss novelist Albert Cohen’s “Book of My Mother” has come to Iranian bookstores.

Mohammad-Mehdi Shojaei is the translator of the book, which Paris Match called “one of the most beautiful love stories ever written.” It has been published by Mahi.

Shortly after Albert Cohen left France for London to escape the Nazis, he received news of his mother’s death in Marseille. Unable to mourn her, he expressed his grief in a series of moving pieces for La France Libre, which later grew into “Book of My Mother”.

Achingly honest, intimate and moving, this love song is a tribute to all mothers. 

Cohen himself expressed, “I shall not have written in vain if one of you, after reading my hymn of death, is one evening gentler with his mother because of me and my mother.”

Cohen was also the author of “Solal”, “Mangeclous”, “Belle du Seigneur”, which was awarded the French Academy’s Grand Prix du Roman; and “Les Valereux”.

Born Abraham Albert Cohen in Corfu, Greece in 1895, he was part of an important Sephardic Jewish community on the island. Albert’s parents, who owned a soap factory, moved to Marseille, France when he was a child. Albert Cohen discusses this period in his novel “Le Livre de Ma Mere” (“The Book of My Mother”). 

He studied at a private Catholic school. In 1904, he started high school at Lycée Thiers, and graduated in 1913.

In 1914, he left Marseille for Geneva, Switzerland and enrolled in Law School. He graduated from Law School in 1917 after which he enrolled in Literature School in 1917 and remained until 1919. 

In 1919, He became a Swiss citizen and that same year he married Elisabeth Brocher. In 1921, they gave birth to a daughter, Myriam. In 1924 his wife died of cancer. In 1925, Albert became director of Revue Juive (The Jewish Review), a periodical whose writers include Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. From 1926 to 1931, he served as a civil servant in Geneva. In 1931 He married his second wife, Marianne Goss.

During the German occupation, in 1940, Albert fled to Bordeaux, then to London. On January 10, 1943, Cohen’s mother died in Marseille. That same year, he met his future third wife, Bella Berkovich. 

Photo: Front cover of the Persian edition of Albert Cohen’s novel “Book of My Mother”.

MMS/YAW

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