by Pascale Kramer
translated by Tamsin Black
(Bellevue Literary Press, 2013)
Simone and Claude live in a house with a lush garden, enclosed by a gate that barely protects them from the growing violence and unrest of the surrounding low-income neighborhood. Simone mourns the loss of youth and possibility as Claude, a gym teacher who has been diagnosed with cancer, edges toward death. This is an unflinching portrait of a couple ravaged by illness and locked into mutual isolation—that is, until the arrival of a young boy brings hope and upsets their delicate danse macabre to devastating effect.
Pascale Kramer dissects romantic love's psychic carnage while unsentimentally revealing the unique beauty born of an adult's love for a child in this "singularly moving and disturbing novel about the ambiguity of feelings" (Le Monde). As does Marguerite Duras, she wields spare language like a club and plumbs emotional depths rarely reached outside of poetry. A brilliant collision of hope and despair, The Child is a tour de force.
Pascale Kramer is the author of The Living and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Prix Shiller (Switzerland) and the Prix du Roman de la Société des Gens de Lettres (France). The Child is her second novel to be translated into English. Born in Geneva, she lives in Paris, France.
Tamsin Black has worked as a literary and commercial translator for over a decade. Her book-length translations include memoirs, travel guides, and fiction, including two novels by Pascale Kramer: The Child and The Living. She lives in Bedfordshire, United Kingdom.