Mend the Living
WINNER OF THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2017
By Maylis de Kerangal
From fatal accident to life-saving operation, Maylis de Kerangal, one of the brightest and boldest writers of modern literary fiction, returns with the epic story of a heart transplant.
Winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2017.
Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2016.
Now a major French film, REPARER LES VIVANTS/HEAL THE LIVING, directed by Katell Quillevere and starring Emmanuelle Seigner.
A twenty-four-hour whirlwind of death and life.
In the depths of a winter's night, the heart of Simon Limbeau is resting, readying itself for the day to come. In a few hours' time, just before six, his alarm will go off and he will venture into the freezing dawn, drive down to the beach, and go surfing with his friends. A trip he has made a hundred times and yet, today, the heart of Simon Limbeau will encounter a very different course.
But for now, the black-box of his body is free to leap, swell, melt and sink, just as it has throughout the years of Simon's young life.
This is his heart.
And here is its story.
Translated from the French by Jessica Moore
Maylis de Kerangal spent her childhood in Le Havre, France. Her novel, Birth of a Bridge, was the winner of the Prix Franz Hessel and Prix Médicis in 2010. Her novella Tangente vers l'est was the winner of the 2012 Prix Landerneau. In 2014, her fifth novel, Mend the Living, was published to wide acclaim, winning the Grand Prix RTL-Lire award and the student choice novel of the year from France Culture and Télèrama. On publication in the UK, it was longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2016 and won the Wellcome Book Prize 2017.
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- Publication date:
11 Feb 2016
- Page count:
A metaphorical and lyrical exploration of the journey of one heart and two bodies . . . Compelling, original and ambitious, this novel illuminates what it is to be human. — Val McDermid
This breathless novel has all the beauty of a Greek tragedy. It is also a hymn to creation and a meditation on the relationship between the body and consciousness, life and death. — Astrid de Larminat, Figaro
Far from being the simple tale of a heart transplant, this novel is a true epic, a great modern saga that investigates our relationship with death as much as our relationship with language. — François Busnel, Lire
A true novel, a great novel, an extraordinary novel. — Bernard Pivot, Journal du Dimanche
Maylis de Kerangal navigates perfectly between the epic and the intimate; let's just say that her writing will shake you to your very core. — Olivia de Lamberterie, Elle
Heartbreaking; I've seldom read a more moving book... De Kerangal is a master of momentum, to the extent that when the book ends, the reader feels bereft. She shows that narratives around illness and pain can energize the nobler angels of our nature and make for profoundly lovely art. One longs for more — Lydia Kiesling, Guardian
A thrilling opening sequence, well-suited to her urgent, breathless, visceral prose ... this extraordinary novel etches itself in the mind ... There is a flamboyant artistry at work, yet Maylis de Kerangal is confronting a reality that is all too real — Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
The story unfolds in an intricate lacework of precise detail. These characters feel less like fictional creations and more like ordinary people, briefly illuminated in rich language ... an exploration not only of death but of life, of humanity and fragility — Priya Parmar, New York Review of Books
Among the most fascinating writers of her generation. With Mend the Living, Maylis de Kerangal attains even greater heights — Raphaelle Leyris, Le Monde
A novel that goes to the heart of what it means to be a human being — Amanda Hopkinson, Independent
From its glorious 300-word first sentence to the stately canopic imagery of its climactic scenes, Mend the Living, beautifully translated from the French by Jessica Moore, mimics the rhythm of the processes it depicts - the troughs and peaks of grief and protocol, of skills utilised and acceptance finally achieved. — M. John Harrison, Guardian