Original title: Chavirer

Author: Lafon, Lola

Publication Date:

August 2020



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

Italy (Edizioni E/O)
English (World) (Europa Editions)
Film/TV rights (offer received)
Japan (Hayakawa)
Germany (Hanser Berlin)
Spanish (World) (Anaya)
Russia (Corpus)
China (Haitian)


Literary Fiction


Original title: Chavirer

Author: Lafon, Lola


Lafon has done a wonderful job of depicting the structures that enable sexual violence, and its traumatic aftermath on the victims: the shame, the disgust, and the need for forgiveness… [It] is also a stunning portrayal of life in Paris and its outskirts throughout the 1980s and beyond—with all the social and political upheavals. — Barbara Halla, Asymptote Journal

The great strength of Reeling is the way Lafon weaves together social failures that, on the surface, seem quite disparate. — Sandra Simonds, Los Angeles Review of Books

Lola Lafon uses her sixth novel, Reeling, to explore the mechanisms of control while shining a light on the inner workings of a system that made the exploitation of bodies possible, sometimes with the involuntary complicity of those around them. — France-Amerique Magazine

The deep relevance and the nuanced portrayal of the myriad effects of abuse on their lives are skillfully done…. Layered and disquieting. — Kirkus

Despite the difficult subject matter, the powerful prose creates an effective and moving tale… There is much to read between Reeling’s lines but it conveys the right atmosphere, with a deft understanding of the sensitive nature. — BuzzMag UK

This of-the-moment novel that scrutinises how working-class girls’ ambition to be dancers or excel at sport is used to manipulate them for abuse by wealthy men. That the procuring of these girls is done by a woman makes this novel especially pertinent. But there is, to the author’s great credit, no hint of sensationalism in the presentation of this exploitation. — Irish Times

A brilliantly written and unsettling novel about those who have power and those who don’t – be it through age, social standing or money. Lola’s writing is never sentimental, but is so powerful in ensuring understand exactly how these events have shaped Cléo’s life and that the issues of power and consent are never clearly defined. I absolutely loved it. — Years of Reading Selfishly

Lola Lafon shines in describing the dancing body at work, behind the scenes of the profession and reveals the social contempt behind the performance and glitter. Sweat and tears. — LIVRES HEBDO

(…) the novelist continues to dismantle the deleterious cogs of recruitment and submission to another so attractive. The cruel price of a trading society of flashy illusions. — PARIS MATCH

Chavirer is an initiatory novel about the slow sedimentation that thickens each existence. It shows how influence and liberation are complicated phenomena that proceed from the same accumulation of imperceptible details. And takes a fresh look at the malleability of human beings, capable of being subjected to manipulation and then recovered, and therefore both a source of strength and weakness. Lola Lafon claims the right to fragility as the supreme freedom. She thus celebrates an unsuspected energy of resistance, a bottomless internal resource. This is her form of personal and beneficial commitment. — TÉLÉRAMA

It’s about guilt and forgiveness, about broken lives and it’s remarkable. — AFP

The author (…) definitely delivers here one of her strongest novels.The light is there in this novel which explores the abyss. (…) one of the gems of this rentrée littéraire (…). — LE POINT

Everything is accurate in what Lafon says. Through the diversity of testimonies and situations that are described, the book intersects with issues of gender, religion, discrimination, social determinism (…). By setting her book in the world of dance (…) she invites us to look behind the scenes, those of the entertainment industry, of course, but also those of our society as a whole. — LES INROCKUPTIBLES

1984. 13-year-old Cléo lives in modest circumstances in the suburbs of Paris. She is accosted by a very elegant lady who says she wants to help young girls to achieve their career dreams and suggests that Cléo apply for a grant from the Fondation Galatée. Cléo’ s dream is to become a dancer but she is falling into a trap into which she unwittingly drags her schoolmates.

2019. The police take an interest in the foundation’s website and launch an appeal for witnesses – they are searching for victims of a network that has procured teenage girls for powerful businessmen by pretending to offer them financial support. Now 48 years old, Cléo has carved out a successful career. She appears regularly on television and performs on stage with a prestigious Parisian dance troupe. She realizes that her past has caught up with her and that she has to confront the ghosts that haunt her – although she was indeed a victim of the foundation, she also became complicit in their recruitment strategies.

Marketing Information

  • Over 70 000 copies sold
  • Winner of Prix Landerneau des Lecteurs 2020
  • Shortlisted for the Prix Femina, Prix FNAC and the Prix Landerneau
  • Longlisted for the Prix Goncourt, Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, Prix de Flore, Prix Décembre, Prix Femina des Lycéens, Prix France Culture-Télérama, Prix du roman des Inrockuptibles
  • English translation available

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