The Travels of Daniel Ascher: A Novel (Hardcover)
June 2015 Indie Next List
“Helene, a young French girl, comes to Paris to study and is curious about her great-uncle, Daniel, who travels the world and writes adventure stories. As she seeks to discover who Daniel is, Helene is drawn into a mystery involving his childhood years in war-torn Paris. This mesmerizing narrative gives a unique insight into what one man will do to live with the pain of the past. What is the true story of Daniel Ascher? Beautifully written and a riveting read.”
— Stephanie Crowe (W), Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
A sensation in France, this is a story about literary deceptions, family secrets, and a thrilling quest for the truth
Who is the real author of The Black Insignia? Is it H. R. Sanders, whose name is printed on the cover of every installment of the wildly successful young adult adventure series? Or is it Daniel Roche, the enigmatic world traveler who disappears for months at a time? When Daniel’s great-niece, Hélène, moves to Paris to study archeology, she does not expect to be searching for answers to these questions. As rumors circulate, however, that the twenty-fourth volume of The Black Insignia series will be the last, Hélène and her friend Guillaume, a devoted fan of her great-uncle’s books, set out to discover more about the man whose life eludes her. In so doing, she uncovers an explosive secret dating back to the darkest days of the Occupation.
In recounting the moment when one history began and another ended, The Travels of Daniel Ascher explores the true nature of fiction: is it a refuge, a lie, or a stand-in for mourning?
About the Author
Déborah Lévy-Bertherat lives in Paris, where she teaches comparative literature at the École Normale Supérieure. She has translated Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time and Gogol’s Petersburg Tales into French. The Travels of Daniel Ascher is her first novel.
Adriana Hunter studied French and Drama at the University of London. She has translated more than fifty books including Eléctrico W by Hervé Le Tellier (winner of the French-American Foundation’s 2013 Translation Prize in Fiction). She won the 2011 Scott Moncrieff Prize and has been short-listed twice for the Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize. She lives in Norfolk, England.
"Haunting...the narrative reads like a mash-up of Sarah's Key and The Book Thief, and it adroitly straddles the line between adult and YA literature. A piercing meditation on memory and history." —Publishers Weekly
"[Déborah] Lévy-Bertherat has written an engaging yet ultimately melancholy and moving novel about a search for meaning with its roots buried in WWII France. A slender story but a satisfying one." —Booklist
"[Déborah] Lévy-Bertherat's debut novel is a story about storytelling—both historical and personal...The best moments in Lévy-Bertherat's short novel involve people falling into stories...The writing is lovely." —Kirkus Reviews
"All fiction readers will love [The Travels of Daniel Ascher]." —Library Journal
"[A] tightly layered debut novel...With an emphasis on our simultaneous needs to disguise our suffering and tell our stories, Lévy-Bertherat highlights a most human conundrum in a mystery whose resolution will fill readers with sorrow and hope." —Shelf Awareness
“The Travels of Daniel Ascher is about the power of stories, particularly the ones we tell about ourselves. Within its svelte form, the novel packs in a love story (several actually), a family story, a war story, a mystery, a travelogue, and even a convincingly imagined children's adventure series. All these strands weave together beautifully in this deftly plotted and deeply moving novel.” —Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Fabled Life of A.J. Fikry
“A startling, beautifully written novel that starts as a stroll in the Luxembourg Gardens and ends in a plunge into the dark, mysterious world of wartime Paris. A real thriller.” —Anka Muhlstein, author of Monsieur Proust’s Library
"Bewitching, charming." —Elle (France)
"Déborah Lévy-Bertherat has a bright literary future." —Lire
"A novel rich in reflections on identity, memory, and the power of fiction." —Le Figaro
“A novel one reads in one sitting that brings us back to the time when traveling meant opening a book.” —Le Libraire (Quebec)