1914
2016 Longlist

1914

Translated from the French by Linda Coverdale
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

Jean Echenoz turns his attention to the deathtrap of World War I in 1914. In it, five Frenchmen go off to war, two of them leaving behind a young woman who longs for their return. But the main character in this brilliant novel is the Great War itself. Echenoz, whose work has been compared to that of writers as diverse as Joseph Conrad and Laurence Sterne, leads us gently from a balmy summer day deep into the relentless-and, one hundred years later, still unthinkable-carnage of trench warfare.

With the delicacy of a miniaturist and with an irony that is both witty and clear-eyed, Echenoz offers us an intimate epic: in the panorama of a clear blue sky, a biplane spirals suddenly into the ground; a piece of shrapnel shears the top off a man’s head as if it were a soft-boiled egg; we dawdle dreamily in a spring-scented clearing with a lonely shell-shocked soldier strolling innocently toward a firing squad ready to shoot him for desertion.

Ultimately, the grace notes of humanity in 1914 rise above the terrors of war in this beautifully crafted tale that Echenoz tells with discretion, precision, and love.

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Jean
Echenoz

Jean Echenoz won France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt for I’m Gone (The New Press). He is the author of five previous novels in English translation and the winner of numerous literary prizes, among them the Prix Médicis and the European Literature Jeopardy Prize. He lives in Paris.

 

Jean Echenoz won France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt for I’m Gone (The New Press). He is the author of five previous novels in English translation and the winner of numerous literary prizes, among them the Prix Médicis and the European Literature Jeopardy Prize. He lives in Paris.

 

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Linda
Coverdale

Linda Coverdale is a literary translator from French. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has a Ph.D in French Literature. She has translated into English more than 60 works by such authors as Roland Barthes, Emmanuel Carrère, Patrick Chamoiseau, Maryse Condé, Marie Darrieussecq, Jean Echenoz, Annie Ernaux, Sébastien Japrisot, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Philippe Labro, Yann Queffélec, Jorge Semprún, Lyonel Trouillot, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Jean Hartzfeld, Sylvain Tesson and Marguerite Duras.

Linda Coverdale is a literary translator from French. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has a Ph.D in French Literature. She has translated into English more than 60 works by such authors as Roland Barthes, Emmanuel Carrère, Patrick Chamoiseau, Maryse Condé, Marie Darrieussecq, Jean Echenoz, Annie Ernaux, Sébastien Japrisot, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Philippe Labro, Yann Queffélec, Jorge Semprún, Lyonel Trouillot, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Jean Hartzfeld, Sylvain Tesson and Marguerite Duras.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

If it is possible to write a beautiful, but truthful and raw book about The Great War, World War 1, then Echenoz has accomplished it in the most concise and horrifying manner.

In very few pages, Echenoz manages to convey the sadness, the horror, and the consequences of World War 1 in France.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
27/03/2014
Country
France
Original Language
French
Author
Publisher
The New Press
Translator
Linda Coverdale
Translation
Translated from the French by Linda Coverdale

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