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A sensation in France this is a story about literary deceptions family secrets and a thrilling uest for the truthWho 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 uestions 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 about the man whose life eludes her In so doing she uncovers an explosive secret dating back to the darkest days of the OccupationIn 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?

10 thoughts on “Les voyages de Daniel Ascher

  1. says:

    This is a bittersweet yet charming little book that I read in one sitting It's a bit of a mix between Indiana Jones The Book Thief It brought a few tears to my eyes but a few smiles too It also reminds us of a history humanity we should not forgetI'm not sure if it is meant to be a light adult novel or something for the YA market Either way it's one I think uite a few adults teens would enjoy appreciate Recommended for a wide variety of readers

  2. says:

    Ugh that was not the way to wind down the year The novel appeared interesting as I scanned the cover at the library I brought it home and was soon disappointed though I thought I'd push through Well it is apparent that YA has infiltrated the New Fiction section at the public library Do we really need another murky whodunit concerning the Holocaust? Such subject matter should be exempt from the dime store tropes but alas the expiation continuesAvoid this one

  3. says:

    I wrote this for the newspaper A family mystery unfurls as a young woman comes to Paris to stay with her strange great uncle Daniel Busy with her studies and a budding romance Hélène isn’t interested in getting closer to Daniel She knows him mostly from his unwelcome antics at holiday dinners and the series of children’s adventure books that he wrote and she largely ignored That changes when she discovers that her college friends and especially her boyfriend are huge fans of Daniel’s booksThe she gets to know him the she puzzles over his place in the family The she learns the she suspects that something deep in the past is affecting the present And where exactly does Daniel go on his travels?This is a debut novel told through our heroine with the clear voice of a young woman Run on sentences of dialogue put the reader smack into the conversation The writer plants clues to mysteries that will be solved later such as the contrast between giant atlas in Daniel’s apartment and the teeny secret in his shirt pocket While it’s a satisfying read the spare writing is at odds with the emotional content of the story We don’t get to know any of the characters well Our heroine remains distant even in her love scenes Perhaps that’s intentional to convey the pains of childhood that are hidden in adulthood but still very much alive

  4. says:

    I changed my ranking from three to four stars after re reading Travels It is uniue evocative and compelling but keep track of the family relationships—literally like a chart Toward the end I felt lost in the family hierarchies and dynamics Once I kept track voilà Worth it? If you feel drawn to read the novel I urge you to do soSPOILER ALERT I won’t tell the mystery Hélène discovers but I will offer a hypothesis I think is correct The Travels of Daniel Ascher – the book we read IS the 24th and last volume of Daniel's adventure series It is the book Daniel has been working on throughout the novel struggling with whether it would have a first or third person narrative His editor says Daniel insists the new book “wasn’t really an adventure story it’s too personal” At the end “Daniel” disappears forever not just for another trip; the epilogue is twelve years later and the character “Daniel” has not appeared We read p 173 that Hélène is “no longer looking for Daniel; she’d found him She was at 16 rue d’Odessa” She In the last paragraph of the book she sits down at Daniel’s desk to “tell the story of Daniel Ascher” And finally read the top line of the list of Black Insignia books after the epilogue “Already Published in the Collection” That wouldn’t be there unless the book in your hand is the most recent book in the series This realization makes me want to read it againOne thing about the family dynamics which I didn’t realize until I made the chart we never know Hélène’s mother or even name and yet she appears at family gatherings says does nothing Hélène never mentions her I haven’t figured this out yet but it’s so for a reason perhaps related to my hypothesisAlso Hélène’s temperament is a puzzlement She is almost off putting at times dismissive of others and assuming they feel the same about her Not that she’s arrogant or judgmental – that she keeps herself and her attitudes at a protective distance perhaps One final comment I don’t understand categorizing Travels as a YA novel – just because a main character writes a children’s adventure series? Maybe the element of mystery and searching through clues the uest for identity where one fits in a family especially ones affected by war and the Holocaust I’d like to know if this was as popular among French adolescents as it was among adults

  5. says:

    For me this book started out a little slowly but as soon as Helen moves into a small apartment in a building that her uncle owns things start to move along About half way through I found that it got very interesting as she finds out about her uncle's history She actually knew very little about him She uncovers his struggles during WWII through many sources flashbacks pictures and stories told by other family members What was very interesting to me was the adventure series that Daniel writes The Black Insignia which I think helps him to deal with his past and helps others understand how the Holocaust affected everyone's lives I found Ms Levy Betherat's writing to be concise very descriptive and the plot flowed beautifullyI ended up really enjoying this book

  6. says:

    VERDICT A literary novel dealing with the place and importance of fiction to help you cope with your past it is also a uniue way of reconsidering the German Occupation in Paris Highly recommended if you enjoy discovering new promising authorsmy full review is here

  7. says:

    Hard to written about without giving away the storyThis is a book about survival guilt secrets memories and familial love Helene learns about her somewhat buffoons great uncle and about her family's past A wistful and sad story

  8. says:

    What a beautiful little book

  9. says:

    A recent translation from the French The Travels of Daniel Ascher reminds me a bit of I Called Him Necktie one of my favorite books of 2014 The similarity isn’t one of theme Rather each of these books seems deceptively simple at the beginning a pleasant enough read but perhaps not much Then comes the moment of sudden revelation about two thirds of the way through this isn’t just a good read; it’s a remarkable read And from that moment on the book becomes un put downable One simultaneously feels compelled to race through it and mourns the fact that its end is approaching page by pageThe Travels of Daniel Ascher focuses on Hélèn an archaeology student and her uncle Daniel a writer of a well known children’s adventure series When Hélèn begins her studies she moves into a small room at the top of the building in which Daniel has his apartment She’s glad for the room but uneasy about living this close to her uncle who she’s always found a bit off putting larger than life in a rather childish way describing his adventures in dramatic fashion as though he were the hero of his own seriesOver time Hélèn begins to realize how little of her uncle’s story she knows and she begins to uestion him and other family members The first revelation is that Daniel was a Jewish boy adopted by a French gentile family during World War II As Hélèn continues her research she becomes less and less certain of who her uncle is as he seems to have two very different life storiesThis is the sort of book one can give one’s self as a gift when a day or a weekend opens up and the lure of “a book and a uiet nook” is irresistible It can easily be read in a day—or in two evenings—but it will stick with the reader much longer The Travels of Daniel Ascher balances its mix of family secrets 20th Century European history and bibliophilia nicely The reader wonders; the reader mourns; the reader also enjoys Keep your eye out for this title and don’t hesitate to pick it up when you cross its path You’ll be surprised by the richness packed into its 160 pages

  10. says:

    And here we are on a hypothetical archeological dig On the outside the world seems normal with a happy family enjoying life and tolerating the eccentric Uncle Daniel The Travels of Daniel Ascher by French author Deborah Levy Bertherat is told by Helene who is attending a college in Paris to become an archeologist Who knew that her major project would be unearthing the family secrets kept so hidden that not even the participants knew all the details As Helene peels back each layer of her Great Uncle's story she realizes there is to discover The key is Daniel Roche a famous author of a popular children's book series The Black Insignia who has provided the apartment where she lives He is an uncle who she never uite understood but now after his return home from his world travels she gets to know him better as he slowly discloses his secret personality and mysteriously reveals himself giving clues to his past life when he was known as Daniel Ascher Finally she can appreciate his work as author H R Sanders and perhaps use the written word to better understand the man The sharing of stories and photographs at family gatherings round out her investigation An interesting premise whose mystery is slowly revealed as if the reader were picking the petals off a flower to reach the center bud There were a lot of nice little touches and the background of the holocaust gives the reader a better understanding of Daniel Asher's motivations The majority of the novel takes place in Paris from 1999 to 2000 an exotic setting which adds to the mystiue I appreciated that Levy Bertherat kept the book novella or novelette? short and to the point instead of dragging out the plot with unnecessary details or repetitions resulting in boredom instead of anticipation I also enjoyed the ending which was slightly open ended yet provided closure The translation from the original French by Adriana Hunter was problematic at spots but I was still kept engaged with the text An interesting read Three and a half starsThank you to Netgalley and Other Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review