The People in the Photo by Hélène Gestern

The People in the Photo

Hélène Gestern

If you've ever been moved by old family photographs where you recognise a parent but don't know who anyone else is, you'll love this elegant exploration of a past which is also personal. Two characters with no connection find out about themselves as much as their families as they exchange letters and emails in a flowing story.


The photograph has captured in its chemistry the blinding summer light falling vertically, flooding every pale surface it touches - the dress, the table, the little boy's cap. The image has the torpid, intense flavour of a summer afternoon, as confirmed by the words written on the back in Cyrillic ... Moreover, seeing her in profile, it is difficult to ignore the fact that Nataliya Zabvina is at least eight months pregnant.

  • The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain
  • The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns
  • Who Do You Think You Are - tv series

Books with similar mood

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

Alice Munro

Underground Time

Delphine de Vigan

I Do Not Come to You By Chance

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Double Vision

Pat Barker


Mick Kitson

The Missing

Tim Gautreaux

The Visiting Angel

Paul Wilson

Moses, Citizen and Me

Delia Jarrett-Macauley

The Amber Fury

Natalie Haynes

The Harmony Silk Factory

Tash Aw

Fragrant Harbour

John Lanchester

Fugitive Pieces

Anne Michaels

The Mariner's Star

Candida Clark


Nicholas Mainieri

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr


Jane Rusbridge

Hide and Seek

Clare Sambrook

The Translator

Leila Aboulela

Timothy's Book

Verlyn Klinkenborg

The Illuminations

Andrew O'Hagan

The Septembers of Shiraz

Dalia Sofer

Wild Dogs

Helen Humphreys

Tell No One

Harlan Coben


Amanda Berriman

The Orange Grove

Larry Tremblay

The Mussel Feast

Birgit Vanderbeke


Rana Dasgupta

Fire on the Mountain

Terry Bisson

The Big Snow

David Park

Someone to Run With

David Grossman

Skin Lane

Neil Bartlett

The Missing

Tim Gautreaux

Brenton Brown

Alex Wheatle

The Reckoning

Patricia Tyrrell


Patricia Schonstein Pinnock

The Melody

Jim Crace

The World Without Us

Mireille Juchau

The Taliban Cricket Club

Timeri N Murari

Anatomy of a Disappearance

Hisham Matar

The Memory Stones

Caroline Brothers

The Last Tiger

Tony Black

Hand Me Down World

Lloyd Jones

A Deal with the Devil

Martin Suter

Hey Nostradamus!

Douglas Coupland

The Repentant Morning

Chris Paling

So Lucky

Nicola Griffith

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love

Sarah Butler

The Mill for Grinding Old People Young

Glenn Patterson

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

Louisa Young