What if the boy in hiding with Anne Frank survived and reinvented himself after the war, as he swore in the diary to do?
On February 16,1944, Anne Frank recorded in her diary that Peter, whom she at first disliked but eventually came to love, had confided in her that if he got out alive, he would reinvent himself entirely. This is the story of what might have happened if the boy in hiding survived to become a man.
Peter arrives in America, the land of self-creation; he flourishes in business, marries, and raises a family. He thrives in the present, plans for the future, and has no past. But when The Diary of a Young Girl is published to worldwide acclaim and gives rise to bitter infighting, he realises the cost of forgetting.
Based on extensive research of Peter van Pels and the strange and disturbing life Anne Frank's diary took on after her death, this is a novel about the memory of death, the death of memory, and the inescapability of the past.
Feldman (Lucy) pens a deeply affecting, unsettling look into the soul of a man whose attempts to bury his past cannot prevent it from seeping into his present life. Anne Frank and Peter van Pels shared an awkward first love in the Amsterdam annex where they lived in hiding. In Feldman's novel, Peter has emigrated to America and, as he promised Anne he would do, completely denied his persecution in the Holocaust and his identity as a Jew. The happiness and safety of his new life confounds him: he has a beautiful wife (who is herself Jewish), lovely children and a good job. But when his wife begins reading Anne's newly published diary and later attends the play and the movie, Peter begins to spiral into flashbacks, paranoia and guilt as he questions who he is and where his responsibilities lie. The true story of the controversy over the authenticity of the diary and its stage and screen adaptations is woven into Peter's own struggle with the truth and its consequences, and Feldman convincingly takes readers into the horrors of the Holocaust and the effects on its survivors. The only thing missing is a portrayal of Peter's relationship with Anne herself. A psychologically gripping tale, this will cause readers to think about the price of safety and the complex obligations of memory.