A brilliant, surprising book, "The Eleven" is historical fiction at its best: a wholly imagined work that scrutinizes and reconceives how we construct history, time and experience. — Martin Riker, The Wall Street Journal
It will bring you to your knees. —Le Nouvel Observateur
An astonishingly rich, mythic new direction in modern French narrative. —Guy Davenport
Reading Small Lives, I felt profoundly that Michon was carrying on the mark of a true writer: one who speaks in his own voice while conveying with all its immediacy and flesh-and-blood possibility of what it means to be human. —The Review of Contemporary Fiction
The emotion, the forceful claims of the imagery . . . Michon achieves what other writers wouldn’t try, licensed as he is by keen regret and transfigured loss. Michon misses the poetry of the past, and in missing it he possesses it. —Benjamin Lytal Michon’s prose tends to slow down in order to oblige you to hear its rhythms and also to see and touch and smell what is happening beneath it. —Harper’s Magazine
Michon describes with such precision, with such force, that you start to think [it] exists. —Liberation
[Michon's] aesthetic integrity and strict austerity have earned him the adoration of critics and made him worth teaching in every university. —L'Express
A great book that, in an honest language, honed with gueuloir, was delivered to the world after years of labor, says the story. —Le Magazine Litteraire
This limpid, beautifully understated novel, winner of the French Academy’s Grand Prix duRoman, recounts the rise from humble origins of painter François-Élie Corentin, who eventually produces a masterpiece called The Eleven
that represents the members of the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror. — Library Journal (Best Fiction in Translation 2013)
About the Author
Pierre Michon, born in Cards, France in 1945, is one of France's foremost contemporary writers. He was awarded the French Academy’s Grand Prix du Roman for The Eleven, the Prix Decembre for his short novels Abbes and Corps du roi, the Prix Louis Guilloux for La grande beaune (The Origin of the World), and the Prix de la Ville de Paris in 1996 for his body of work.
Jody Gladding is a poet and translator. Her most recent collection of poetry is Rooms and Their Airs. She has translated over twenty books from French, including Serpent of Stars by Jean Giono. She teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Vermont.
After devoting a part of her life to specialized horticulture, Elizabeth Deshays now works as a teacher and translator. She is the author of a study on bilingual education, L'Enfant Bilingue. In addition to Michon’s novels, she translated Julien Gracq’s La Presqu’ile (The Peninsula). She lives in Provence.
Jody Gladding and Elizabeth Deshays were awarded the French-American Foundation for Translatio Prize in 2008 for their rendering o Pierre Michon’s Vies Minuscules (Small Lives).