Crawl Space

Winner of the Bard Fiction Prize

A Lit Blog Co-Op Nominee

Selected as a Best Book of the Year by San Francisco Chronicle, Electric Review, and ReadySteadyBook

It's 1999 and Emile Poulquet awaits sentencing in a Paris court for deporting thousands to almost certain death during World War II. But, haunted by ghosts from his former life, and determined to confront his dark legacy, he escapes and heads toward his beloved Finier, a rural town in the south of France where he once served as prefect. His return will have explosive consequences. By turns reflective and slyly humorous, Crawl Space poignantly describes one man's tragic attempt to come to terms with the past.

Crawl Space has been adapted for screen by Zoetrope screenwriter Lisa Rosenberg.

From Crawl Space: You think you know me and still my name slips away on your tongue. You've probably seen me countless times, but you never noticed. There has been surgery on my face, yes, to disguise me. Yet I live in your pile of clippings, I exist in your mind as a niggling question, a thing troubling your sleep certain nights. I understand your dilemma. You would not give it the importance of a dilemma but having been on your side, I understand how denial becomes an easier route.

Press and Reviews

"In her new novel, Edie Meidav has created a vivid panorama of the modern world, refracted through an amazingly intricate character. The secrets of history, the unrequited loves and betrayals, the disgraces and disappointments and confusions-all are revived for Emile Poulquet, who, in trying to escape his past, runs headlong into the trap of memory and guilt. CRAWL SPACE is the work of a fearless writer with a cosmic imagination." -- Joanna Scott



"Meidav embeds the reader in the mind of a narcissistic, self-loathing, obsessive, vengeful narrator — a French Nazi collaborator — whose oddly compelling voice is the achievement of this complex novel (after The Far Field). With a tale both chilling and comical, Meidav considers the struggle to define history." 
-- Publisher's Weekly

 

“[Meidav's] portrait of Poulquet is chilling in its understatement. . . . Meidav sounds the notes of detachment and desperation in Poulquet's voice with unflinching exactness. . . . Meidav's seriousness and energy demand nonetheless that we hold her novel to the highest standards.” ―The New York Times Book Review

 

“[A] finely crafted, seriocomic tale . . . An ambitious book in the tradition of the European novel of ideas, addressing the failure of memory, the ineluctability of fate, and the age-old issues of guilt and redemption . . . [Narrator Poulquet is] charming, a literate raconteur. . . . Meidav's novel is a reminder of the power of the culture to shape morality [and] demonstrates her considerable gifts as a stylist; there's not a false note in the prose.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

 

“A heart-chilling tale of love and hate . . . Meidav's novel illuminates . . . with all the brilliant Technicolor that well-honed fiction has to offer.” ―Los Angeles Times

 

“Poulquet is, he says, 'one more unjew jewed by history.' Such a fellow should not be good company for the substantial pilgrimage we undertake with him in Edie Meidav's troubling new novel, Crawl Space. But he is quite a creation indeed, this aging anti-Quixote with his residual windmills to tilt at. . . . It might have been tempting for a novelist to show Poulquet crumbling with guilt, self-accusation, and awareness; the quality of his whimsical hauteur is not the least of Meidav's triumphs as a storyteller.” ―Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List

 

“Meidav's style is subtle and sophisticated, resembling that of Marcel Proust.” ―J. (the Jewish news weekly of Northern California)

 

“Unfailingly interesting.” ―San Francisco magazine

 

“Meidav has the ability to tackle the huge, unanswerable questions of history with breathtaking skill and daring. She goes deep into The Other and brings into focus the complex interrelations among beauty, cruelty, sympathy, and brutality. The profundity of her moral and philosophical probing is matched by the strikingness of her imagery and the lyricism of her prose. She surveys the most reprehensible moral landscape and elicits from her reader, in that miraculous act of grace that only fiction can provide, a sympathy, as well as a repugnance for that very sympathy. A masterful manipulator, she milks every nuance of vulnerability and shamelessness, delusion and contrition. Like Penelope weaving and unweaving her tapestry, Meidav heals and rips apart the wounds of history nearly simultaneously. She forces us to interrogate the very nature of memory. Her vision is vast, global, uncompromising, risk taking. Thus it is no surprise that her brilliant career is fast evolving.” ―Mary Caponegro

 

“An original, new novel about the Holocaust . . . A provocative and compelling second novel.” ―Jewish Woman magazine

 

“A deep character study of an octogenarian who knows that even death will not eliminate the guilt that haunts him. His need to 'go home' grips readers. . . . Meidav does the impossible.” ―Midwest Book Review

 

"A highly impressive and original treatment of the Holocaust; recommended for all literary and French history collections." 
-- Edward Cone, Library Journal

More Resources for Crawl Space

The Writers Block: Crawl Space (KQED Arts)

A Novel Called Crawl Space (Blog)

Announcing the 2005 Bard Fiction Prize (Electric Review)

Video: Crawl Space reading

The Books of Summer (SFGate)