# 69 / Editorial


Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost was a worldwide bestseller, an immediate Classic. This book – the story, told by a child of survivors, of some members of his family who disappeared in the Holocaust (the complete title of the book is “The Lost. A Search for Six of Six Million”) – became the matrix of a genre in itself, repeated a hundred times since but never equaled. The book creates a narrative of exceptional scope: simultaneously the odyssey of an American who returns to the scene of European crime; an investigation that ventures into the labyrinth of a family biography; a vertiginous self-commentary on the reasons for such a work of writing; a story without limits of time and space that operates incessant back and forth between present, immediate past and immemorial past; a reflection on a chapter of history that draws from the sources of universal history and in particular from the great Hebrew texts and ancient Greece. Because, let’s remember, Daniel Mendelsohn is first of all a Hellenist, the author of a thesis on Euripides, an academic who has just re-translated Homer into English. A writer for whom, immediately, history and myths consonate. Déborah Bucchi and Adrien Zirah, themselves Hellenists, spoke with him at length. They talk about The Lost but not only, about his other books where autofiction is always translated into reflective literary essays. This week we publish the first installment of this interview, which will provide our July serial – the first installment devoted to the singularity of a style with multiple influences: Jewish, Gay, American, and linked to Europe. It is preceded by an introduction to his work, which allows us to better perceive how The Lost is part of a bibliographic whole of great coherence of inspiration.

It is another type of return to Europe, and in this case to Spain, that Juliette Senik recounted in the text that we are republishing this week. The Spanish “Law of Return” – which 500 years after the expulsion of Spain’s Jews on the basis of “purity of blood” – was meant to help the victims of the past obtain Spanish nationality. The articles — On the Trail of the Spanish Mirage — evinces the disquiet and ambivalence that Jews feel vis-à-vis a great European nation’s declaration of wanting to make amends for “a historic error.” The fact that the law raised so many hopes before turning out to be a disappointment is indeed revealing…

Starting this week, K. is publishing in several installments a long interview with Daniel Mendelsohn. The great American writer, who became famous with The Lost, is the author of a rich body of work in which various traditions (classical, Jewish and American traditions, among others) intersect and the art of storytelling fuses with scholarly analysis. Déborah Bucchi and Adrien Zirah, who conducted the interview, examine some of the most singular and ambitious elements of Mendelsohn’s oeuvre in this introduction. Bucchi and Zirah situate his work at the crossroads between auto-fiction and mythic dialogue.

More than 500 years after the expulsion of Spain’s Jews, and to everyone’s surprise, the Spanish parliament passed a law in 2015 to repair this “historic error” by allowing descendants of the expelled to apply for naturalization. Upon learning of this, documentary director Juliette Senik decided to set up her camera in the office of the Spanish consulate in Paris and follow the official in charge of processing naturalization applications…

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Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.