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Eastbound (Paperback)

Eastbound By Maylis De Kerangal, Jessica Moore (Translated by) Cover Image
By Maylis De Kerangal, Jessica Moore (Translated by)
$18.00
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February 2023 Indie Next List


“An emotional thriller in miniature, this slim, brisk book had me on the edge of my seat and emotionally invested in these characters until the very end. The poetic language is the work of a singular and transfixing talent.”
— David Vogel, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Description


In this gripping tale, a Russian conscript and a French woman cross paths on the Trans-Siberian railroad, each fleeing to the east for their own reasons
 
Perfect for fans of Maggie Shipstead's Great Circle and The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles


Eastbound is both an adventure story and a duet of two vibrant inner worlds.
 
In mysterious, winding sentences gorgeously translated by Jessica Moore, De Kerangal gives us the story of two unlikely souls entwined in a quest for freedom with a striking sense of tenderness, sharply contrasting the brutality of the surrounding world. 
 
Racing toward Vladivostok, we meet the young Aliocha, packed onto a Trans-Siberian train with other Russian conscripts. Soon after boarding, he decides to desert and over a midnight smoke in a dark corridor of the train, he encounters an older French woman, Hélène, for whom he feels an uncanny trust.
 
A complicity quickly grows between the two when he manages to urgently ask—through a pantomime and basic Russian that Hélène must decipher—for her help to hide him. They hurry from the filth of his third-class carriage to Hélène’s first-class sleeping car. Aliocha now a hunted deserter and Hélène his accomplice with her own inner landscape of recent memories to contend with.

About the Author


Maylis de Kerangal is the award winning and critically acclaimed author of several books, including The Heart, which was one of the Wall Street Journal’s Ten Best Fiction Works of 2016 and won awards including the Wellcome Book Prize, the Grand Prix RTL-Lire and the Student Choice Novel of the Year from France Culture and Télérama; Naissance d’un pont (published in English as Birth of a Bridge), which won of the Prix Franz Hessel and Prix Médicis; and Un chemin de tables, whose English translation, The Cook, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Mend the Living was Longlisted for the Booker International Prize 2016.

Jessica Moore is a poet, translator, author, and singer-songwriter. A former Lannan writer-in-residence and winner of a PEN America Translation Award for her translation of Turkana Boy, by Jean-François Beauchemin, her first collection of poems, Everything, now, was published in 2012. She lives in Toronto.

Praise For…


“In this slim, sleek tale that hurries along at the speeding train’s clip, de Kerangal draws on classic train capers while also poetically, ravishingly conveying the immensity and harsh beauty of this haunted land of exile and torment . . . With each new novel, de Kerangal secures her place as a writer of stunning, incisive, enrapturing fiction; it’s a boon to have this sensuous, soulful, and suspenseful earlier work so gorgeously translated into English by Jessica Moore.”
--Donna Seaman, Booklist

"Impeccable . . . De Kerangal’s triumphant achievement is powered by mellifluous prose with a rhythm as steady as the train. Readers are in for a dazzling literary ride."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"As a choreographer knows, if you place a man and a woman on the stage even in an abstract ballet, you already have a story. As Maylis de Kerangal, one of the three or four best French novelists working today, reveals, the story need not be one of physical desire but of shared loneliness and the longing for escape—and of mammalian empathy."
--Edmund White

"On the Trans-Siberian railroad an encounter between a young Russian conscript and a French woman becomes a gripping tale of loneliness and escape. Told with lyrical precision, Eastbound is a rare feat: razor sharp and abundant in human emotion. It's difficult to think of a writer who does so much, so well, in so few pages. Breathtaking."
--Mark Haber, Bookseller at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Texas

"Eastbound is a novella told in a single breath, quick as a light turned on; intense, precise, unconditional, potent. Jessica Moore’s translation is masterful."
--Anne Michaels, author of Fugitive Pieces

"Eastbound is a compassionate thriller, one where suspense is created around the question of whether one person will aid another. It asks us to remember our humanity and the humanity of others. something which goes beyond nationality and language."
--Grant Rintoul, First Reading

"In this timely novella about a Russian military conscript defecting from the army, 20-year-old Aliocha is on the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Vladivostok, spanning almost a quarter of the Earth’s circumference . . . A balance of internal thought and external action propelled by a narrative that races on in long sentences, keeping things flowing beautifully in between moments of drama."
--John Self, The Guardian

"Though first published in France 10 years ago, there is a contemporary resonance to this slender tale of a young Russian conscript, Aliocha, trying to escape the army on the Trans-Siberian railway and encountering Hélène, a fellow fugitive in flight from her own past."
--Ángel Gurría-Quintana, Financial Times, "Best Books of 2022"

"Taut and tense with moments of pure beauty. One thrilling train ride across a foreign landscape that allowed me to experience a conscript's desperate plight and the connections that can bloom between strangers in unexpected moments."
--Hannah Harlow, Book Shop of Beverly Farms in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts
 
"This 127 page gem of a book should be in print now with all the news of new conscripts in Russia reluctantly heading to Ukraine. Aliocha is a new conscript heading to Siberia, miserable, who befriends Helene, a frenchwoman, traveling East on the same train.  Beautifully written and translated, this book packs a current punch in its very relatable story."
--Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut
 
"Meet Helene & Aliocha, a pair of people seeking to leave similar but utterly distinct circumstances: he is a young Russian kid avoiding military conscription; she is a French woman approaching middle-age, fleeing a relationship that has left her existentially stranded and without comfort in Siberia. They encounter one another in the dark corridors of a train on the Trans-Siberian railway, and become, over a cigarette, unlikely compartment-mates and co-conspirators. His desperation interacts with her isolation in remarkable ways, given that they do not share a language. Their harrowing adventures include the avoidance of a lecherous military bureaucrat, as well as a tangle with the corps of former Soviet operatives working as train attendants. All the while, the pair must parse the strained, vivid memories & experiences of their respective pasts (and presents) as they are both propelled towards an uncertain future."
--Danielle King, Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Missouri
 
"An emotional thriller in miniature, this slim, brisk book had me on the edge of my seat and emotionally invested in these characters until the very end. The poetic language is the work of a singular and transfixing talent."
--David Vogel, Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Product Details
ISBN: 9781953861504
ISBN-10: 1953861504
Publisher: Archipelago
Publication Date: February 7th, 2023
Pages: 137
Language: English