You are here

Olivia Rosenthal, We’re Not Here to Disappear


On July 6, 2004, Monsieur T. stabbed his wife five times with a knife. He then left the marital home and sought refuge in the neighbors’ yard. That’s where the police found him. During the interrogation, when Monsieur T. was asked why he did such a thing, he was unable to answer. He didn’t seem to understand the charges brought against him and didn’t remember attempting to kill his wife.

What’s your name?
Not me.
What’s your first name?
It doesn’t belong to me.
And your last name?

Translated from the French by Béatrice Mousli.

With We’re Not Here to Disappear, which has just been awarded the Wepler-Fondation La Poste prize, Olivia Rosenthal, at 42-years-old, takes on a frightening subject, Alzheimer’s disease, without falling into excessive pathos or voyeurism...

The narrative is propelled by fragmentary descriptions, interrogations, hypotheses, and the reader is confronted with the words of a man who maintains, “I am no longer a occupant of the world,” as well as with the meanders of the narrator’s thoughts...

But, as always in Olivia Rosenthal’s work, the rhythm and imagination keep us from falling into desperation. And We’re Not Here to Disappear continues the reflection on identity present in all of her other books. How do we play with memory and forgetting to construct our identities? What remains of them when we lose our memory?

       —Josyane Savigneau, Le Monde

Paris-born novelist Olivia Rosenthal has published nine books since 1999, including Mes Petites Communautés (1999), On n’est pas là pour disparaître (2007, Prix Wepler, Prix Pierre Simon) and Que font les rennes après Noël? (2010, Prix du Livre Inter, Prix Alexandre-Vialatte). She has also written a number of plays and has been featured as a performance artist in collaboration with filmmakers, writers, choreographers and directors for numerous festivals.

  • ISBN: 978-0-9860173-7-7
  • Price: $12.95
  • Published 2015
  • 184 pages

Where to buy:We’re Not Here to Disappear