Where the city ends and the suburbs begin is clearly marked in Paris by the Périphérique, which Anne Weber's narrator has hardly ever thought of crossing. For what is there, in the disreputable banlieues, apart from a network of rails, expressways and highways, between which warehouses, huge supermarkets and building sites and millions of people are wedged? Apart from the notorious hardship, violence and poverty? But when her old friend Thierry suggests that she accompany him on a film project about the suburbs of the Seine-Saint-Denis department, which are undergoing a profound transformation ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games, she has to admit that she has been blind to the immediate vicinity for decades. There is, for example, the Muslim cemetery in Bobigny, surrounded by scrap heaps, where an Algerian Olympic champion from the 1920s is buried; the two circular social housing buildings in Noisy-le-Grand, which face each other like gigantic camemberts; and a thousand other places that tell of colonialism and suffering, of hope and progress. Over time, Thierry himself also reveals himself to be part of this contradictory world that has been hidden from her view until now.
"With Anne Weber's astonishing oeuvre, you can always be sure that she is venturing a new literary experiment with every new book." – Die ZEIT
AwardsAnnette von Droste Hülshoff Prize 2024 Solothurner Literaturpreis 2024.
Complete French translation available
Anne Weber, born in 1964 in Germany, lives in Paris. She always writes her books in two languages, German and French, and has translated numerous French authors into German. Her novel Annette. An Epic Heroine was awarded the German Book Prize 2020 and has been translated into 15 languages.