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This Tilting World

Colette Fellous | Translated by Sophie Lewis

On the night following the terrorist attack that killed thirty-eight tourists on the beach at Sousse, a woman sits facing the sea and writes a love letter to her homeland, Tunisia, which she feels she must now leave forever. Personal tragedies soon resurface—the deaths of her father, a quiet man who had left all he held dear in Tunisia to emigrate to France, and of another lifelong friend, a writer who just weeks ago died at sea, having forsaken the writing that had given his life meaning. From Tunisia to Paris to a Flaubertian village in Normandy, and with nods to Proust and Barthes, Fellous’s complex and loving story offers a multitude of colorful portraits, and sweeps readers onto a lyrical journey, giving a voice to those one rarely gets to hear, and to loved ones now silent.

“Colette Fellous’ beautiful book, humming and dancing with sensual intelligence, newly vivid in Sophie Lewis’s deft, delicate, agile version, takes change and translation as its very themes. It asks us to imagine leaving home, searching for a new home. That home may simply be language itself, a web of knot-ted meanings. However, if that web serves as a rope bridge slung between places and people, and the bridge is cut and falls, survival is put at stake." —Michèle Roberts

“…a reflection—sensitive and honest—on our present, this impossible present, this threshold between yesterday and a complex future, where we ‘see also how our life was entirely manufactured by the political history, even though we thought it belonged to us, that it was “personal.”’” Diacritik

Originally published by Gallimard in 2017 with the title Pièces détachées.

More information here.

Colette Fellous is the author of more than twenty novels, including Aujourd’hui (2005), for which she received the Prix Marguerite Duras, and La Préparation de la vie (2014), in which she pays homage to her mentor Roland Barthes. A former publisher and radio producer for France Culture, she lives between France and Tunisia and is also a photographer. This Tilting World is her first book published in English.