by Angélique Villeneuve
It’s October 1918 and the war is drawing to a close. Toussaint Caillet returns home to his wife, Jeanne, and the young daughter he hasn’t seen growing up. He is not coming back from the front line but from the department for facial injuries at Val-de-Grâce military hospital, where he has spent the last two years.
For Jeanne, who has struggled to endure his absence and the hardships of wartime, her husband’s return marks the beginning of a new battle. With the promise of peace now in sight, the family must try to stitch together a new life from the tatters of what they had before.
Translated from the French by Adriana Hunter.
180pp, paperback with flaps, £12.00
Publication date: 7 October 2021
Co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union
Press & Reviews
'An astonishing, compelling, slow-burn of a novel – full of understated power and devastating insight.' - William Boyd, bestselling author
'Cinematic in its effective precision.' - Julia Stoneham, The Historical Novel Society
'In shining prose, Villeneuve describes terrible losses, national, familial, and personal, and how one small family must learn to live together again. Affecting, moving, and compelling.' - Claire Fuller, Costa Book Award Winning author of Unsettled Ground
'The novel could easily have become overwhelmed by despair but it is instead lifted by touching moments of hope and solidarity... An altogether human depiction of some of society's most inhuman excesses.'- Rónán Hession, The Irish Times
'Unflinchingly examining the visible and invisible wounds inflicted by war, this tenderly told story simultaneously reveals how courageous lovers find ways to repair each other's damage.' - Michèle Roberts, author of The Walworth Beauty and Negative Capability
'Meticulously researched, Villeneuve describes the brutal emotional consequences of war. In her gorgeous writing she conveys the couple’s silences and communicates the inexpressible.' - Janet Skeslien Charles, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Library
About The Book
An award-winning British translator, Adriana Hunter has translated over ninety books from French, mostly works of literary fiction. She won the 2011 Scott Moncrieff Prize for her translation of Beside the Sea by Véronique Olmi (Peirene Press, 2010) and the 2013 French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize for her translation of Hervé Le Tellier’s Electrico W, and her translations have been shortlisted twice for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (now the International Booker Prize). Hunter has translated three other books for Peirene Press: Under the Tripoli Sky by Kamal Ben Hameda (2014), Reader for Hire by Raymond Jean (2015) and Her Father’s Daughter by Marie Sizun (2016).