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Maylis de Kerangal

Maylis de Kerangal is the award winning and critically acclaimed author of several books, including The Heart, which was one of the Wall Street Journal’s Ten Best Fiction Works of 2016 and won awards including the Wellcome Book Prize, the Grand Prix RTL-Lire and the Student Choice Novel of the Year from France Culture and Télérama; Naissance d’un pont (published in English as Birth of a Bridge), which won of the Prix Franz Hessel and Prix Médicis; and Un chemin de tables, whose English translation, The Cook, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Mend the Living was Longlisted for the Booker International Prize 2016.

from Eastbound

Maylis De Kerangal’s Eastbound relates a Russian soldier, Aliocha, attempting to evade military service by hiding aboard a Trans-Siberian railcar venturing from Moscow to Vladivostok. Aliocha’s determined flight, given the military’s endless reach, has proven to be the only rational response to the dysfunction and brutality of his corps. More than a prescient one-sided tale, Eastbound also depicts a young French woman, Hélène, fleeing an unsatisfactory relationship. In order to successfully flee, each must trust the other, difficult given a strict language barrier. The novel’s relentless pace is matched by De Kerangal’s beautiful lyricism. Simple acts, like preparing to step outside from a train car, are written with masterful, close attention.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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