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Those Who Depart (Ceux qui partent)

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Original Language: French | 336 pp. | August 2019

2 Seas represents: Dutch, Nordic and North American rights.

LITERARY FICTION

A handful of them come ashore on Ellis Island and with them the 20th century takes its first faltering steps along the path to liberty and happiness.

In Andrew Jónsson’s photographs we can see the Italian actor Donato with his red book in his pocket and on his arm his daughter Emilia, who is ready to flourish. And Esther the Armenian, the orphan of an entire people. And the gypsy clan around Gabor the violinist. And then all those who arrived before them who have already started to build this city which is reaching for the skies and for the future. The family of the young Andrew have left behind them in Iceland the most profound of sorrows and there is a tacit solidarity in the silence of the father, the complicity of the grandmother and the very American mother whose sights are set on the future. There is also the free-spirited Hazel who prostitutes her body with her head held high and the remarkable little Lucile Lenbow. They are all seeking to give shape to their exile and to lay the foundations of their own country. And what if the night were the only universal language?

A blend of novel and poetry, Jeanne Benameur’s art engages with the world and the people who inhabit it through the prism of liberty and authenticity. A body of work with profound and powerful resonances, most of which has been published by Actes Sud.