cover image Margot


Jillian Cantor. Riverhead, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-59448-643-2

What if Anne Frank’s sister Margot, instead of dying in Auschwitz, had survived and gone into hiding in America? Cantor’s latest (after The Transformation of Things) posits this alternative scenario with a modern eye for symptoms of trauma and survivor’s guilt. Wearing long sleeves even on hot days to cover her camp tattoo, Margot is passing as a gentile in 1950s America under the name “Margie Franklin,” avoiding both her father in Switzerland and her own tragic history. But after The Diary of Anne Frank is published by her dad and the movie version arrives in theaters, Margot’s careful reconstruction of herself begins to fray. Joshua Rosenstein, the lawyer for whom she works as a secretary, asks for her help in finding Jews experiencing discrimination, further inflaming long-repressed memories. A troubled pair of love triangles figures in the book—one from Margot’s teenage years in hiding and another in the law office; the first seems unfair to history and the second is a Holocaust survivor’s version of Cinderella. But with Margot having been denied a happy ending in real life, Cantor is determined for her to find one here. Agent: Jessica Regel, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Sept.)