Family in Pantin
La famille de Pantin
A few days before the start of the vacation, a message popped up in our WhatsApp group, like an affectionate call-to-order, an injunction to assemble.
“It’s time to visit your family in Pantin.”
Those were magic words, and Auntie Pim knew it. With the power of those words alone, she brought us all back together again.
What is life if not a catalogue of times, places, people, to which we can never return? Self-professed life-long nostalgic, Michèle Fitoussi broaches the question against the background of her spiritual exile from her birthplace, Tunisia.
Fitoussi is nostalgic, she tells us, for bygone ages, places she’s never lived, worlds she has only visited through other people’s memories: the Tunis of her early childhood is no more. It lives on only in the stories told to her by her second family, her “family in Pantin”.
Prepare to become well-acquainted with the likes of Sarah, Albert, Uncle Pap, and Auntie Pim as Fitoussi walks you through this vividly-wrought family portrait. It is through their individual experiences that another story begins to take shape: the story of the Jews of Tunisia, told in the hope that a trace of it will remain in years to come. Powerful, sentimental, and truly unforgettable, Family in Pantin is a tender reflexion on feelings of displacement, belonging, and the meaning of family.
“A triumph, unquestionably Michèle Fitoussi’s finest. An uplifting magnum opus.” — Challenges