Eastbound – Maylis de Kerangal



Eastbound developed from a radio commission, written whilst the author was travelling on the Trans-Siberian from Novossibirsk to Vladivostok, as part of the French Ministry of Culture’s programme of French-Russian events in 2010. It was inspired by the author’s observations on the ground. Published in France two years after her award-winning novel Birth of a Bridge (2010), this novella maps the fast-paced story of two fugitives on the Trans-Siberian railway, where a desperate Russian conscript hopes a chance encounter with a French woman will offer him an escape. Infused with a sense of surreal softness, and in prose evoking jazz music, the filthy, violent circumstances of Aliocha’s journey are brought into sharp focus.

Maylis de Kerangal traces an intersection between Russian classics and pressing contemporary political questions. Eastbound revives the Russian literary archetype of the rebel soldier and the reality of disempowerment the author witnessed at the Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint Petersburg protests in 2010. Both gripping and breathless, the narrative of Eastbound at once expands and compresses time, upending the reader’s expectations as the train pursues its inevitable course.

Eastbound is richly atmospheric and full of suspense. It combines a vibrant account of one of the most magical train journeys in the world, the Trans-Siberian, with a narrative of a double escape, depicting an unlikely alliance of a French woman trying to leave her lover by travelling in the wrong direction, and a heartbreakingly young Russian draft dodger. It takes a great writer to manage all that so convincingly in hundred and twenty thrilling pages.” – Vesna Goldsworthy, author of Iron Curtain

‘The fever burning through this story, its suspense and its lyrical escapes don’t curb its sensuality, and precision. [Kerangal’s] language has an incredible driving force. It is both like a stone made up of many crystals, mixing registers with fluidity, and juxtaposing the poetic and the trivial. The whole thing has a unique rhythm, a sense of breathless speed: the sort of graceful rockslide that only she can pull off. In flux between interior and exterior, this is the perfect voyage.’ – Le Monde des Livres

A flight that is as intoxicating as it is nerve-wracking, in which we grasp the doubts, the urgency and the secret bond between the two fugitives at lightning speed. We see how faces and landscapes dissolve in the non-place of the train, at once fixed and in perpetual motion.’ – Elle France

‘With seismographic sensitivity, she enters the minds of her characters to capture their slightest emotional vibrations [?] In her pages we find both coarseness and flights of the soul, all evoked in tight, surgical prose which hides nothing and which holds reality strangely, at arm’s length.’ – La Croix

In stock

ISBN: 9781838490447 Category: Tags: ,

Additional information

Weight 0.13 kg
Dimensions 19 × 18 × 1.4 cm








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