From the publisher:
A young revolutionary plants a bomb in a factory on the outskirts of Algiers during the Algerian War. The bomb is timed to explode after work hours, so no one will be hurt. But the authorities have been watching. He is caught, the bomb is defused, and he is tortured, tried in a day and sentenced to death by guillotine. A routine event, perhaps, in a brutal conflict that ended the lives of more than a million Muslim Algerians.
But what if the militant is a ‘pied-noir’? What if his lover was a partisan in the French Resistance? What happens to a ‘European’ who chooses the side of anti-colonialism?
By turns lyrical, meditative, and heart-stoppingly suspenseful, this debut novel by Joseph Andras, based on the true story of a young man named Fernand Iveton (and a young politician named François Mitterrand), was a literary and political sensation in France, winning the Prix Goncourt for First Novel and being acclaimed by Le Monde as “vibrantly lyrical and somber” and by the journal La Croix as a “masterpiece.”
“Joseph Andras writes with the swiftness of lightning. In vivid strokes, he illuminates both the interiority of a courageous man facing death for his convictions and the devastation wreaked by French colonialism in Algeria. The moral and political urgency, as well as the depth of the tragedy, still resonates in Andras’s powerful account of the life and death of Fernand Iveton.” – Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Committed