Original title: Mon Étincelle

Author: Zamir, Ali

Publication Date:

September 2017



Original language and publisher

French | Le Tripode

Territories Handled

Netherlands, Nordic Countries


Literary Fiction


Original title: Mon Étincelle

Author: Zamir, Ali

  • 2 Seas represents: Dutch, Nordic and English (USA & Canada) Rights.


Following hot on the heels of his highly original debut Anguille sous roche (winner of the Prix Wepler special jury award, Prix Senghor for best novel in French and over 15,000 copies sold), this second novel by Ali Zamir is another masterclass in the art of storytelling, drawing us delectably into an exotic island universe which is feisty, colourful and awash with tales of love.

The young Étincelle is flying between the two islands of her native country, the Comoros, when the plane hits turbulence. as if echoing her own turbulent love life, torn as she is between two lovers. She thinks back to the stories her mother used to tell her, including the sumptuous but tragic tale which ultimately led to her own birth.

Mon Étincelle is a depiction of the eternal interplay of love and chance which brings lovers together in a world peopled by characters with the most unlikely of names – Étincelle (Spark), Gentleness, Pain, Paracetamol, Aspirin, Vitamin, Calcium. This is the feisty and contradictory island world of a writer who is quite unclassifiable.

‘Although I had never heard Mama use the traditional phrase ‘Once upon a time…’, this story resonated in my head like a fairytale – a tale of two students which begins in the town of Mahajanga in Madagascar, the baobab town. I’m always reminded of this story whenever I’m confronted by an ordeal. It’s the story of an 18-year-old adolescent, timid and reserved, whose first name is Gentleness and a brave young 19-year-old man who goes by the name of Pain. Gentleness and Pain are desperately in love.’ — Ali Zamir


When I left the island of my birth, all was perfect. Perfect? Is the word adequate? Perfect. There’s no adequate word for it in any case. You just have to follow me, that’s all. Yes, you just have to switch to my channel. As if you were sitting in front of your flat screen. Your legs crossed. Your eyes fixed on the device. But don’t forget that you have to hang on every image. To avoid falling.

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