Forget the Wildflowers
Original title: Oublier les fleurs sauvages
A wonderful narrative that never lets you forget that it is also a love story. — Singulars
Céline Bentz offers us a novel written in a style that is sometimes sober, sometimes spirited, recounting the problems Amal faces with great clarity. — Bernard Gravelat, Culture’L, RCF Radio
Through a heroine with a fiery temperament, Céline Bentz plunges into the heart of the rifts that divide Lebanon. A very moving first novel. — Le Pèlerin
A novel well conducted, managed, constructed. We revisit the history of Lebanon. […] A very fine book on exile. — France Info TV
Energetic and moving writing. — Le Républicain Lorrain
In the Haddad family, everyone knows that it takes a lot of courage and determination to escape a fate you didn’t choose. That’s how the parents raised all seven of their children. But of their four daughters, they have placed all their hopes in mischievous, intelligent Amal: she’s the one who will be sent to school in France, a distant horizon that she has always dreamed of. Until the day when the young woman meets handsome, wall-eyed Youssef, a man she is not allowed to love…
From the streets of a colorful but unstable country to the single-family, cookie-cutter houses in the suburbs of the provincial town of Nancy; from the warmth of Lebanon to the cold winters of eastern France, after a profusion of obstacles and having known both ecstasy and violence, Amal will discover both the bitter taste of exile and the infinite one of freedom.
Loosely inspired by the story of her own family, Céline Bentz’s moving quest tells the story of the uncommon life of a woman torn between two countries. A remarkably mature début novel – carried by lively, embodied writing – that is also a magnificent tribute to Lebanon. It is a well-documented, inspired and necessary tale that intertwines individuals’ personal lives with political events (thwarted love and exile over a backdrop of Lebanon in the 1980s) and is told with a dramatic style that will carry readers away.
- Shortlisted for the Prix du Premier roman 2021, Prix Mare Nostrum – Grand prix Méditerranéen de littérature, Les Talents Cultura