The next Global Book Club Plymouth meeting is a joint event with the Brest–Plymouth Twinning Book Club. The event will discuss award-winning French novel The Art of Losing by Alice Zeniter, translated by Frank Wynne (original French title L'art de perdre). Join us to discuss this novel of colonial history told as compelling family saga.
Naima has always known that her family came from Algeria – but up until now, that meant very little to her. Born and raised in France, her knowledge of that foreign country is limited to what she's learned from her grandparents' tiny flat in a crumbling French sink estate: the food cooked for her, the few precious things they brought with them when they fled. On the past, her family is silent. Why was her grandfather Ali forced to leave? Was he a harki – an Algerian who worked for and supported the French during the Algerian War of Independence? Once a wealthy landowner, how did he become an immigrant scratching a living in France?
Naima's father, Hamid, says he remembers nothing. A child when the family left, in France he re-made himself: education was his ticket out of the family home, the key to acceptance into French society. But now, for the first time since they left, one of Ali's family is going back. When a work assignment takes Naima to Algeria, she begins a journey of reluctant discovery. Naima will see Algeria for herself, will ask the questions about her family's history that, till now, have had no answers.
Spanning three generations across 70 years, The Art of Losing tells the story of how people carry on in the face of loss: the loss of a country, an identity, a way to speak to your children. It's a story of colonisation and immigration, and how in some ways, we are a product of the things we've left behind.
'Enthralling' Wall Street Journal
'Remarkable...a novel that never loses its sense of humanity' Sunday Times
'A deeply human story of the ghosts of identity and decolonisation' Vanity Fair
'Highly recommended' Grazia
Winner: Priz Goncourt des Lycéens and the International Dublin Literary Award
This meeting with fellow book lovers in Brest will be held online using Zoom. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for joining instructions.