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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Beyond the Door of No Return

Beyond the Door of No Return

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One of Publishers Weekly's best fiction books of 2023

"A hypnotic, powerful historical novel in which stories nest within one another like dolls . . . It all coheres mesmerizingly." --Clémence Michallon, The New York Times Book Review

"Stunningly realized . . . Exquisite . . . A spellbinding novel." --Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

The thrilling and deeply moving new novel by David Diop, winner of the International Booker Prize.

Paris, 1806. The renowned botanist Michel Adanson lies on his deathbed, the masterwork to which he dedicated his life still incomplete. As he expires, the last word to escape his lips is a woman's name: Maram.

The key to this mysterious woman's identity is Adanson's unpublished memoir of the years he spent in Senegal, concealed in a secret compartment in a chest of drawers. Therein lies a story as fantastical as it is tragic: Maram, it turns out, is none other than the fabled revenant. A young woman of noble birth from the kingdom of Waalo, Maram was sold into slavery but managed to escape from the Island of Gorée--a major embarkation point of the transatlantic slave trade--to a small village hidden in the forest. While on a research expedition in West Africa as a young man, Adanson hears the story of the revenant and becomes obsessed with finding her. Accompanied by his guide, he ventures deep into the Senegalese bush on a journey that reveals not only the savagery of the French colonial occupation but also the unlikely transports of the human heart.

Written with sensitivity and narrative flair, David Diop's Beyond the Door of No Return is a love story like few others. Drawing on the richness and lyricism of Senegal's oral traditions, Diop has constructed a historical epic of the highest order.

Author: David Diop
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published: 09/19/2023
Pages: 256
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.90lbs
Size: 7.40h x 5.80w x 1.40d
ISBN: 9780374606770
Award: National Book Awards - Nominee

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 04/01/2023 pg. 5
Publishers Weekly 06/19/2023
Kirkus Reviews 07/15/2023
Booklist 09/01/2023 pg. 49
BookPage 09/01/2023

About the Author

David Diop was born in Paris and raised in Senegal. He is a professor of literature at the University of Pau, where his research encompasses such topics as eighteenth-century French literature and European representations of Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His first novel to be published in English, At Night All Blood Is Black, was awarded the International Booker Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction.

Sam Taylor is an award-winning literary translator and novelist. He has translated more than sixty books from the French, including Laurent Binet's HHhH and Leïla Slimani's The Perfect Nanny.
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