If You Cross the River

If You Cross the River

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LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE

From celebrated Belgian author Genevi ve Damas, a modern fable about friendship, self-determination, and the power of words.

Illiterate, isolated, and held at arm's length by a bitter father, Fran ois Sorrente has spent his seventeen years within narrow confines. By day he tends the family farm's pigs; by night he manages the household chores. Still, Fran ois can't help but wonder about the wider world and his place in it. Who was his mother, who he remembers not at all? And why is the opposite shore of the river, where his beloved older sister disappeared many years ago, forbidden to him?

Propelled by curiosity, Fran ois turns to the eclectic denizens of his town to help make sense of these mysteries. He begins reading lessons with a melancholy cur , falls into an affair with a village woman, and affectionately confides his secrets to a velvet-eared piglet named Hym n e. As Fran ois questions both his origins and the course of his life, he begins to unlock the true story of his mother and sister, and comes to reinvent himself.

Exquisitely translated from the French by poet Jody Gladding, If You Cross the River is a magical debut.

Author: Geneviève Damas
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Published: 05/14/2019
Pages: 152
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.50lbs
Size: 8.40h x 5.40w x 0.70d
ISBN: 9781571311207

Review Citation(s):
Booklist 04/15/2019 pg. 20
Kirkus Reviews 03/15/2019
Shelf Awareness 05/14/2019

About the Author
Geneviève Damas is a Belgian actress, playwright, and novelist. After completing a law degree, she turned to theater. She has acted, directed, and written award-winning plays for both children and adults. If You Cross the River is her first novel and has received wide international acclaim. It won the Prix Victor Rossel in Belgium and the Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie, awarded annually for fiction that enriches cultural diversity and the French language on the five continents. Damas lives in Brussels. Jody Gladding is the author of four collections of poems: the spiders my arms, Translations from Bark Beetle, Rooms and Their Airs, and Stone Crop. She has translated thirty books from French, including Jean Giono's The Serpent of Stars and Pierre Michon's Small Lives, which won the French-American Translation Prize. She lives in Vermont.