The Child of the Forests
Original title: L’enfant des forêts
The discovery of an unexpected writer. A hypnotic novel, between Le Grand Cahier and My Absolute Darling.
L’Enfant des Forêts is set in a dystopian land, where major waves of immigration are met with systemic and brutal repression. The protagonist, a ten year old immigrant, ends up seeking refuge in a forest after losing his entire family to violent militias. While looking for a safe place, he falls into the hands of a malicious stranger who turns out to be a much greater threat. This unfortunate encounter quickly grows into a twisted game of manipulation. The reader is left wondering whether or not the protagonist will manage to escape the mental and physical abuse of his captor. An interplay of perspectives adds depth to the novel, making it an unsettling yet gripping read full of complex characters. Ultimately, the prisoner succeeds in outwitting his abductor, as he delivers a powerful message about human resilience.
This novel will no doubt spark discussion among readers. If one had to describe his writing in one word, it would be “daring”: he offers a unique voice among contemporary writers, redefining what it means to use literature as a tool for exploring the human psyche in all its complexity – and sometimes monstrosity.