From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Homeric in its scope and grandeur, remarkable in its detail, Énard's American debut is a screaming take on history, war, and violence. Francis Servain Mirkovic, the son of a French father and a Croatian mother, is a spy whose job it is to resell stolen secrets to their legitimate owners. His "Zone" is the Mediterranean. It is the early 21st century and he is on his last mission, taking a train from Milan to Rome under a fake name and revisiting, in a blistering stream-of-consciousness (periods are few and far between), his childhood, his career, and various women, among them Sashka, the Russian painter he plans to meet in Rome; Marianne, from his youth; and Stéphanie, his fellow agent. Weighing heavily on him is his time with the Croatian army during the "Yugoslav madness," where he witnessed and took part in atrocities. As Francis's train speeds along, his story picks up momentum, becoming nearly frantic by the final stretch. Mandell's translation of the extravagant text is stunning. (Dec.) (c)
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About the Author
Mathias Énard has won numerous prizes for his works, including the the Prix du Livre Inter and the Prix Décembre for his novel Zone. He is currently a professor of Arabic at the University of Barcelona.
Charlotte Mandell has translated works from a number of important French authors, including Proust, Flaubert, Genet, Maupassant, and Blanchot, among others. She received a Literary Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for her translation of Enard's Zone.
Brian Evenson is a translator from French and the author of ten books of fiction, including The Open Curtain, which was a finalist for an Edgar Award and an IHG Award.