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Sankhara

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Original Language: French | 400 pp. | January 2020

2 Seas Represents: North American, Dutch and Nordic rights

NOVEL

Hélène, who is going through a rough patch with her journalist husband Sébastien, vanishes the day after a violent row. The mother of two takes refuge in a silent retreat in the countryside and practices Vipassana meditation for eleven days. It is both a physical and spiritual shock to her system. She has made careful arrangements for her two 5- year-old twins in her absence, but her uncomprehending husband views her abandoning of the family home as a betrayal.

The upshot is that Sébastien and Hélène experience the chaos of 9/11 from two completely different perspectives. One has to contend with the sheer violence of the initial images and with the running commentary of his colleagues on the New York attacks without having time to reflect or even to properly relay his own take on events. The other, completely unaware of what’s happening in the news, discovers within herself a rich and hitherto unsuspected lucidity as to the way in which each individual determines collective behaviour.