Peirene No. 30

Faces on the Tip of My Tongue

Emmanuelle Pagano


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  • Description

    Meetings, partings, loves and losses in rural France are dissected with compassion.

    The late wedding guest isn’t your cousin but a drunken chancer. The driver who gives you a lift isn’t going anywhere but off the road. Snow settles on your car in summer and the sequins found between the pages of a borrowed novel will make your fortune. Pagano’s stories weave together the mad, the mysterious and the dispossessed of a rural French community with  honesty and humour. A superb, cumulative collection from a unique French voice.

    Why Peirene chose to publish this book:

    This is a spellbinding web of stories about people on the periphery. Pagano makes rural France her subject matter. She invokes the closeness of a local community and the links between the inhabitants’ lives. But then she reminds us how little we know of each other.

    Written by Emmanuelle Pagano
    Translated from the French by Jennifer Higgins and Sophie Lewis

    There Be Monsters series
    128pp, paperback with flaps, £12
    ISBN 978-1-908670-54-0
    eISBN 978-1-908670-55-7

  • Author

    Emmanuelle Pagano was born in Rodez (Aveyron) in 1969. Her novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she has won multiple awards for her writing, including the EU Prize for Literature and most recently the French Ecology Novel Prize. This is her second book published in English, the first Trysting was published by And Other Stories in 2016.

  • Translators

    Sophie Lewis and Jennifer Higgins translated Pagano’s previous collection Trysting to much acclaim. Individually, Higgins has translated multiple books from French and Italian and Lewis’s translations have been shortlisted for the Scott Moncrieff Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize.

  • Press

    ‘Pagano is a prose poet of the highest possible calibre.’ Christopher Reid, poet and essayist

    ‘There is a delicate, almost translucent thread entwined in the narrative which provides hints, takes the reader to the next story, like a children’s game, only to discover a new detail, invisible before.’ Nataliya Deleva, Empty Mirror

    ‘A lake; a tree; a cemetery; a bend in the road: as one brief prose poem succeeds the last, the settings of an intimate area of rural France begin to overlay one another.’ Jo Manby, Floralia

    ‘Devastatingly beautiful.’ Le Soir, Belgium

    ‘Pagano’s stories are filled with self-awareness, humour and humanity…Faces on the Tip of My Tongue encapsulates ideas of knowing and not-knowing, of surprising each other and ourselves.’ Beth Wren

    ‘A treasure hunt that you can follow from title to title…fine-tipped drawings of little bits of the world that attach themselves to each other imperceptibly.’ Xavier Houssin, Le Monde

    ‘Endlessly beautiful and poignant.’ Le Monde books of the year 2012