Advanced Search Module


Close Search

Flotsam and Jetsam (Anguille sous roche)



Original Language: French | 320 pp. | September 2016

2 Seas represents: Dutch, Nordic and English (USA & Canada) Rights.

Rights sold: Italy (La Nave di Teseo, at auction), Germany (Eichborn), The Netherlands (Wereldbibliotheek), UK (Jacaranda).

English sample translation available

Over 15,000 copies sold.

Winner of Prix Senghor du premier roman francophone et francophile and Special Jury Mention for Prix Wepler 2016

Selected for the Prix du Roman Fnac 2016, Livre sur la place (Nancy), Hors Concours 2016,  Prix de Littérature Francophone Senghor 2016, Prix Révélation de la Société des Gens de Lettres, Prix des Rencontres à lire 2017, Prix des Cinq continents de la Francophonie 2016 and Prix du premier roman de Chambéry!


The invention of a language – Le Monde des Livres

The authentic rage makes one forget about the exercise in masterliness and makes Flotsam and Jetsam particularly likeable for the characters, the musicality of the language and the force of the imagery – L’Express

For Ali Zamir the word ‘free’ designates his desire to let himself be swept away by fiction, to go beyond what he imagines. In this quest for the absolute, he invents a text without any respite, that each reader will be able to punctuate and bring to life in his own voice, in his own way, re-creating it endlessly.  – Le Monde

Coiled up on itself like a spiral, the book is at once a long prose poem and a novel of universal form that seizes the reader and implicates her fully in the writing process – l’Humanité

Flotsam and Jetsam is an experimental novel whose only punctuation is the comma, with lyrical incantations soothed by the prosaic, so making something that belongs uniquely to [Ali Zamir] – Libération  

Raw, poetic, serpentine, the prose unveils a young woman with a character that defies expectations, strong-willed, fiercely independent, eager for all possibilities, never vengeful. […] Ali Zamir makes a dazzling tribute to the thousands of migrants lost at sea, a little-talked about tragedy that is an everyday occurrence for the Comoran population. – Marianne

It is rare to say about a book that you have never read anything like it, and this is one such case. – Elle 

We will remember the literary cyclone named Ali Zamir for a long time. – Telerama

Ali Zamir’s debut novel Flotsam and Jetsam is unique. A woman is drowning in the Indian ocean. She recounts the story of her life. The novel is written in just one sentence. A sentence that flows over some 320 pages. The final stop, an exclamation point, will be the narrator’s last breath. – Libération 

(…) Magnificent excessiveness of form (…) The novel closes with the word “phew”, which best sums up how we feel about this stunning book, definitively out of the ordinary. Baptiste Liger – Technikart

This fall, this electric Anguille (eel) is a decidedly good catch. Sean James Rose, Livres Hebdo

I have just finished Flotsam and Jetsam, which I found absolutely magnificent. It reads in one sitting, like a breath. The breath of Anguille, and that is what is amazing. What a wonderful love story too… it has a way of describing and bringing to life the desires of the heart and the body… it is gripping. And getting into the skin of this woman. With all that comes with it, pain and determination. I loved it. – Anne-Julie Bémont – Radio France

The young Comorian writer gives us an elegiac soliloquy: just one sentence, a verbal wave that takes you in its flow, like rap. – Livres Hebdo 

I allowed myself to be carried away on the waves of her vibrant and organic prose, a single long phrase beating to the rhythm of necessity and urgency, close to the traditions of oral language. And I slipped on the blades of her thought, in tune with her meanderings, her certainties and her cries of rage. Please do not identify me with characters of ink and paper – I’m alive, I act, I move. – Laurent Boscq

A pure diamond, a magnificent event.A mindblowing debut novel.  – Le Point

In this story of an unruly young vagabond of the sea, the ultramarine voice of Anguille (Eel) leaves an enduring wake in its path, somewhere in the waters between Anjouan and Mayotte: “The life of an individual is a collection of light and dark rooms which are kept secret. Each of us is virtually an ocean.”

Anguille is a 17-year-old girl who leaves her rock on the archipelago of Comoros to lose herself at sea. She drifts between two states of mind and between two islands ‘in a hollow maze’, evoking her memories so as to forget nothing and so as to delay the inevitable outcome.

Confronted with the pressing immediacy of imminent death, Anguille recounts the story of her whole life in one long, sustained breath, in a series of brief couplets.
But what Anguille recounts, in an assured voice which heralds a shipwreck, is also something other than her life – something much deeper below the ground, or rather the sea, which has to do with the species and what is immemorial. It is the story of a fight for survival in which everyone becomes a predator. The man whom the shipwreck brings is called Voracious, the handsome fisherman who initiates her to the smoke of Gauloises cigarettes, to the aroma of wine and to the scent of sex. Anguille revels in her initiation.

Ever indirect, she tacks one way and then the other, keeping her cards close to her chest, until they finally find out that she is pregnant and she is chased out from under the roof of her father and then of her lover. Her narrative is imbued with the prevailing sense of urgency.


The Netherlands (Wereldbibliotheek)