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Rhapsody of the Overlooked (Rhapsodie des oubliés)

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Original Language: French | 320 pp. | August 2019

2 Seas represents: World Excl. French rights

LITERARY FICTION | DEBUT NOVEL

A stunning first novel, with influences ranging from Truffaut’s 400 Blows to Zola’s L’Assommoir, via Romain Gary’s Madame Rosa.

The story starts in the present day, in Paris’s Goutte-d’Or neighborhood near the Barbès metro station, where North African and African immigrants congregate. Influenced by Zola’s L’Assommoir, which describes daily life in that working-class neighborhood during his era, Sofia Aouine portrays the life of Abad, a mischievous, turbulent 13-year-old boy.

Like Antoine Doinel in Truffaut’ 400 Blows, Abad dreams of a brighter future. But in that urban jungle, where an impoverished, ethnically diverse population does its best to get along, his aspirations soon turn into lost illusions. Yet escape routes from his suffocating life do appear, and one of them is the discovery of desire and sexuality. Even if it means breaking the rules, even if it means doing whatever it takes to get others to let him learn about life his own way.

The word “rhapsody” comes from the Ancient Greek, and literally means “songs stitched together.” Like a rhapsoder, Sofia Aouine stitches words, sewing together the characters’ lives and making the language sing. With this debut novel, a grandiose story-teller is revealed, one with a style so singular and prodigious that it would be pointless to settle for comparing her to Céline or Despentes – however powerful she may be.

Born in 1978, Sofia Aouine is self-taught. A radio journalist and documentarian, Rhapsodie des oubliés is her first novel.

  • “The Céline of Barbès”: a husky, powerful voice like we’ve never heard before.
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A novel that will be covered by major media outlets: “La Grande Librairie” (France 5), Le Figaro, Le Parisien, Elle, etc.
  • The press agency Anne & Arnaud, which did a fabulous job during our last two fall literary line-ups (Cover of the Figaro littéraire, Top 6 new novels in Le Parisien, ELLE, France 5, Le Monde etc.), will handle this novel.