Information about the author.
Ben Jelloun crafts a horrific real-life narrative into fiction to tell the appalling story of the desert concentration camps in which King Hassan II of Morocco held his political enemies under the most harrowing conditions. Not until September 1991, under international pressure , was Hassan’s regime forced to open these desert hellholes. A handful of survivors—livng cadavers who had shrunk by over a foot in height—emerged from the six-by-three-foot cells in which they had been held underground for decades.
Working closely with one of the survivors, Ben Jelloun eschewed the traditional novel format and wrote the book in the simplest of language, reaching always for the most basic of words, the most correct descriptions. The result is a shocking novel that explores both the limitlessness of inhumanity and the impossible endurance of the human will.
The last years of the great French composer’s life as envisioned by “the master magician of the contemporary French novel” (The Washington Post)
A bestseller in France, Ravel is a beguiling and original evocation of the last ten years in the life of a musical genius, written by the acclaimed novelist Jean Echenoz, winner of the Prix Goncourt. The book opens in 1927 as Maurice Ravel—dandy, eccentric, and curmudgeon—voyages across the Atlantic aboard the luxurious ocean liner the France to begin his triumphant grand tour across the United States, where he will travel aboard such fabled trains as the Zephyr, the Hiawatha, and the Sunset Limited, smoking his precious stash of Gauloises along the way.
Illuminated by flashes of Echenoz’s characteristically sly humor, Ravel is not just a delightfully quirky portrait of a famous musician coping with the ups and downs of his professional and personal life but a truly touching farewell to a dignified and lonely old man going reluctantly into the night.
Set during and after the First World War, A Very Long Engagement tells the story of a young woman’s search for her fiancé, whom she believes might still be alive despite having officially been reported as “killed in the line of duty.” Unable to walk since childhood, fearless Mathilde Donnay is undeterred in her quest as she scours the country for information about five wounded French soldiers who were brutally abandoned by their own troops. A Very Long Engagement is a mystery, a love story, and an extraordinary portrait of life in France before and after the War.