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The Future Belongs to Them (Des garçons d’avenir)



Original Language: French | 448 pp. | August 2011

2 Seas Represents: Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish Rights.

Depending on the publisher and the quality of the translation, translations from the French can be funded by the Centre national du livre.

Nominated for the Prix Femina 2011.


Masterfully written, well researched and terribly human, this great literary and historical novel is devoted to a major event of the twentieth century: the First World War.

In 1915, aged 22, medical student Raymond Bonnefous goes off to war lightheartedly. He is not in the least worried because he considers, just like his comrades, that the conflict will not last.

However, he is going to live close to the hell of the trenches for nearly four years, in first-aid posts where he witnesses the staggering procession of wounded and mutilated soldiers. With the other doctors, including his friends Morin and Declercq, they try to relieve the suffering that surrounds them, often at the risk of their own lives. Yet they also try to forget… Since these “boys of the future” have a desire to live: during their free time, they want to go horseback riding, play tennis, have fun in Paris, return home on leave, go to parties, and love as well… Their commitment at the core of the most terrible of conflicts does not prevent them from seeking pleasure and love with a childlike force, with some kind of blindness too, that makes them think nothing will stop them… We share the last moments of carelessness of a generation that is trying to prolong a world that is disappearing.

From this universe of people and passion, this daily life filled with horror, human beings arise that are capable of finding a form of happiness in spite of everything.