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Ardour (De l’ardeur)



Original Language: French | 320 pp. | September 2017

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, Nordic and English (North American) rights.

Rights sold: Greece (Polis)

Over 5,000 copies sold

Winner of the Prix Renaudot Essay

Selected for the Prix des Lectrices de ELLE and the Prix Interallié


“The portrait, composed by Justine Augier from a long investigation, is at once the analysis of an atrocious political system, based on manipulation, terror, and opacity.” — Claire Devarrieux, Libération

“Between Asli Erdogan and Emmanuel Carrère, an important, fair, and courageous book.” — The Inrockuptibles 

“The fascinating portrait of a Syrian lawyer, Razan Zaitouneh, kidnapped more than three years ago for investigating the human rights violations in her country. Justine Auger delivers a captivating portrait of a woman in “freefall” while avoiding the pitfall of emphatic commiseration.” — William Irigoyen, Lire

On the night of 9 to 10 December 2013, Razan Zaitouneh, a human rights campaigner, was abducted by an Islamist armed group and nothing has been heard from her since. Born in 1978, the same year as Razan, Justine Augier is a writer. The Lebanon hostage crisis is the backdrop to her childhood and central in shaping her conception of Razan’s disappearance and the Middle East as a whole. Upon reaching adulthood, she dedicates herself to humanitarian work in the region and in Afghanistan in particular. This book is the place where these two women are brought together in the imagination.

Justine Augier reconstructs the portrait of a young woman who did not believe in heroism, and through her she explores the shattered jigsaw of the revolution in Syria and the ongoing criminal act which that country has become. It is the story of an investigation and a private obsession, and the sharing of a sense of giddy vertigo. It is an immersion in the history of the present, blended with a reflection on personal engagement and language.

Justine Augier is the author of Son absence (Stock, 2008), En règle avec la nuit (Stock, 2010), Jérusalem, Portrait (Actes Sud, 2013) and Les Idées noires (Actes Sud, 2015). She has also published La Vie étonnante d’Ellis Spencer, a novel for young adults published by Actes Sud Junior in 2014.