On Replacement pp 185-191 | Cite as

‘That’s my son’: replacement, jealousy and sacrifice in Un Secret

  • Naomi Segal


Philippe Grimbert’s autobiographical novel Un Secret (2004) tells the tale of the gawky son of athletic parents who hide both their Jewish origins and his. He dreams of a brother in their image who both fascinates and torments him; later he discovers the family past and the guilts and losses that lie behind his parents’ relationship. Claude Miller’s film adaptation crosses from a black-and-white present to a highly coloured past in which desire is enabled by the first wife’s dramatic decision – impulsive or planned, we cannot know – to go with her child into captivity. Replacement of a child, a name, a husband, a wife, a dog, a culture and a genre, all pivot on the enigma of a mother’s suicidal embrace.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naomi Segal
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK

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