Today is publication day for Miguel Bonnefoy’s latest novel Heritage, which is published by Gallic Books, translated from the French by Emily Boyce. As someone who loves a multi-generational family saga, I was excited to have the opportunity to review Heritage, a novel which provides a vivid, personal account of the lives of several generations of the Lonsonier family.
Heritage is around 150 pages in length, but despite its brevity, Bonnefoy has captured so much in terms of the challenges faced by an uprooted family, their home, and the love and anguish they experience in the face of extraordinary circumstances. The plot itself is fast paced, with events spanning the centuries, and covering major historical events both in South America and Europe. Given the range of events and themes covered during the telling of the story, there are harrowing moments, where the reality of the characters situations is clear, and the violence they bear witness to is played out, tragic events which have such an impact on countless lives. But whilst there are moments that make for difficult reading, it is not a story without beauty, and tenderness. I loved the imagery surrounding the family’s home, surrounded by lemon trees, and home to an aviary filled with birds from all over the world, a vibrant place bursting with colour and life. And the characters themselves are also richly detailed and fascinating to read about – I was particularly interested in the story of the daughter who, born amongst the birds in the garden, would dream of flying herself.
With its story traversing the continents, exploring the impact of war and other significant global events, this was a story that caught my interest straight away. As it exposes both the beauty and the terror in humanity, it blends together personal stories of love, and loss, and of an uprooted family finding their place in a difficult world. It’s a story of passion and anguish, and the way a family’s life is shaped by events across centuries and continents, which makes for a fascinating family saga filled with stories and characters that leave a lasting impact.
Heritage was published 14th April 2022 by Gallic Books. With thanks to Isabelle Flynn for providing a proof copy for review.