Faraway the Southern Sky: A Novel (Verso Fiction) (Paperback)

Faraway the Southern Sky: A Novel (Verso Fiction) By Joseph Andras, Simon Leser (Translated by) Cover Image
By Joseph Andras, Simon Leser (Translated by)
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"Joseph Andras writes with the swiftness of lightning."
–Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer

A biographical historical fiction retelling of Ho Chi Minh's immigration and radical life in underground Paris in the 1920s

Fleeing persecution in Indochina, the young Ho Chi Minh arrived in Paris as World War I was sputtering to a close. A painfully shy twentysomething who stammered when he spoke in public, he joined the shadowy figures of the demimonde, the radicals, poor artists, prostitutes, the luckless, and rebellious.

Six years later, he boarded a train bound for the young Soviet Union as the fiery, passionate leader of the Vietnamese independence movement and a founder of the French Communist Party. He had lived under various pseudonyms in a succession of seedy apartments. There had been arrests and beatings, jobs in restaurants and photo shops, revolutionary writing in the Bibliotheque Nationale, and meetings with Chaplin and Colette, all while being dogged by French spies—much of what we know about the young man’s Paris years is thanks to that surveillance, down to accounts of arguments he had with friends at home.

Searching for traces of the past in the streets of today, Joseph Andras hears echoes of other angry histories, from terror attacks to tent encampments to the protests of the Gilets jaunes. This intensely lyrical, genre-bending book is a meditation on what could be called the grandeur of the poor, the free, the outcast, and the rebellious—people who might not find a place in history books but without whom history could not be written.

About the Author

Joseph Andras is the author of the novels Tomorrow They Won’t Dare to Murder Us, Ainsi nous leur faisons la guerre, and Au loin le ciel du Sud. Tomorrow They Won't Dare to Murder Us was adapted for the cinema (as Faithful) by Hélier Cisterne and was awarded the Prix Goncourt for First Novel. But Andras refused the prize, explaining his belief that “competition and rivalry were foreign to writing and creation”. He lives in Le Havre.

Simon Leser is a writer, critic, and translator currently living in New York, and working towards a doctorate in French literature at NYU.

Praise For…

"In this eloquent and impassioned novella, Andras charts a course through contemporary Paris in the footsteps of Vietnamese leader Hô Chí Minh ... his flâneur's chronicle builds to a richly layered and emotionally honest reckoning with the promises and failures of a great leader. Andras's meditation strikes a nerve."
—Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

"A buzzing, bustling, genre-blending book that balances fact and fiction ... the most successful passages arise when Andras extracts truth from either fact or fiction to depict a more real-seeming person behind the historical giant, as when a young H? Chí Minh borrows Marx's Capital from a Parisian library and, rather than peruse and annotate its pages, 'the big book served as his pillow.'"
Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
ISBN: 9781804291719
ISBN-10: 1804291714
Publisher: Verso Fiction
Publication Date: May 21st, 2024
Pages: 96
Language: English
Series: Verso Fiction