In a Parisian ghetto, Lila, a sixteen-year-old Catholic girl, stops to talk to Chimo, a nineteen-year-old Arab boy, and puts into motion a sequence of events that is shockingly raw, sensual, and devastating. Lila's angelic demeanor barely contains the vitality and powerful eroticism that are destined to destroy her. No matter how hard he tries, Chimo is unable to resist the pull of this tragic girl.
Lila Says is Chimo's journal of his encounters with Lila. Each time they meet, she tells him increasingly troubling tales of her supposed exploits and violations, inspiring in the uneducated Chimo a previously untapped poetry. With grace and a streetwise wit, he records her story. His narrative builds relentlessly, breathlessly, until it becomes clear that Lila is perilously close to the edge, where the brutality of the world they inhabit threatens to consume her.
Lila Says, a touching, wrenching tale of innocent love sprung from wanton degradation, convinces us that even in the bleakest, most bitter settings, beauty and romance are possible.
The most sensational foreign novel in recent memory, Lila Says became an instant bestseller in France. In the tradition of Marguerite Duras's The Lover and Pauline Reage's Story of O, Lila Says is a magnificent debut.