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The New World Symphony (La symphonie du nouveau monde)

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Original Language: French | 288 pp. | August 2019

2 Seas represents: Dutch, Nordic and English North American Rights.

Selected for the Prix Renaudot.

LITERARY FICTION

After the success of Showers of Sun, winner of the prix Renaudot des lycéens for young adult fiction in 2016, Lenka Horňáková-Civade has penned her third novel: the vibrant and poetic story of a tormented mother, an unlikely daughter and a troubled Europe.

1938. Vladimir, freshly appointed consulate for the recently formed Czechoslovakia, is moving into his new Marseille residence, amazed by the great port’s vitality. Meanwhile in Strasbourg, Bojena, a young Prague native on the way to America, steals the baby of another emigrant who died in childbirth. Or saves it? In any case, she goes on her way with the child and her rag doll.

But in Munich, that same 1938, the fate of Czechoslovakia is sealed. Europe’s too. This is war, now. And, more than ever, the hunt for a New World is on. In Provence, fate guides all these to meet. Separations, reunions, clandestine resistance… then a return to Prague and shattered hopes.

The doll saw everything, her mother-of-pearl eyes enthralled. She heard everything. Over the terrible, miraculous tumult we hear her little voice, conveying the humour, poetry, tenderness and gravity of Lenka Hornakova-Civade.