Revolution Baby is the fictionalized memoir of a son of Communist Jews hidden in WW2-occupied France. Julek’s childhood is peripatetic even before the war. He is sent to live with friends and to schools and camps because his mother puts her activist role first. But when war breaks out he can’t live openly anymore. He takes on the identity of a school friend and hides. Narrated in simple first person style, we see the war through the everyday life of a child. It’s a lovely and moving story you won’t forget.
Julek has assumed countless different identities, lived with numerous families, and worked as a secret agent for the Resistance. He was raised in an orphanage (despite having two mothers) and he knows how to speak the language of dogs. All this at the tender age of fourteen!
Julek's story begins in Warsaw on the eve of World War II and ends in Paris after the city's triumphant liberation. We witness the darkest hours of the past century and the effects of war through the eyes of an extraordinary boy who never loses his sense of wonder. Julek’s adventure becomes an incredible lesson in survival and a testament to the power of the imagination.
Moviegoers who enjoyed the Academy Award-winning movie Life is Beautiful will love Joanna Gruda's Revolution Baby. Touching upon themes dealt with in the classic Diary of Anne Frank and exhibiting the same love of life and of storytelling as Yann Martel's Life of Pi, this debut novel is as moving as it is finely crafted.
About the Author
Born in Poland, Joanna Gruda arrived in Trois-Rivières, Canada, by boat at the age of two. She acted in the theater and worked as a comedian for many years, and she is a translator and an editor. Revolution Baby is her debut novel.
Alison Anderson's translations for Europa Editions include novels by Sélim Nassib, Amélie Nothomb, and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. She is the translator of The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Europa, 2008) and The Life of the Elves (Europa, 2016) by Muriel Barbery.
Reviews for Revolution Baby
“There’s no self-pity or tales of woe here. The tone, the style and the images are that of a charming naïf. And the life-lessons are wonderful.” —Elle (Quebec)
"Fresh, candid, and full of love." —Hélène Talbot, Le Liraire
“Beyond enthralling, Revolution Baby is a superb lesson in resilience and the importance of imagination.” —Josée Lapointe, La Presse
“I was so sorry to part company with the young hero of this book, who, at the end of the book, is ready, at the age of sixteen, to turn over a new leaf and say farewell to his readers.” —Danielle Laurin, Le Devoir
“Gruda excels at the voice of a child. We see everything through the eyes of young Jurek, who is not only wise beyond his years but sensitive and never melodramatic. This is a beautiful, subtle tale.” —Patricia Powers, Radio-Canada