Winner of the 2015 Prix Goncourt
As night falls over Vienna, Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, takes to his sickbed with an unspecified illness and spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories.
There he lies, revisiting the important chapters of his life: his ongoing fascination with the Middle East and his numerous travels to Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascus, and Tehran, as well as the various writers, artists, musicians, academics, Orientalists, and explorers who populate this vast dreamscape. At the centre of these memories is his elusive, unrequited love, Sarah, a fiercely intelligent French scholar caught in the intricate tension between Europe and the Middle East.
An immersive, nocturnal, musical novel, full of generous erudition and bittersweet humour, Compass is a journey and a declaration of admiration, a quest for the otherness inside us all and a hand reaching out - like a bridge between West and East, yesterday and tomorrow. Described by his publishers as a “poetic eulogy to the long history of cultural exchanges between east and west”, this is Mathias Enard's most ambitious novel since Zone.
‘There are passages of pure delight with rare insight into the human condition.’ – The FT
The Man Booker International judges comment: ‘A restless but hypnotic novel written with remarkable erudition and sensitivity. Enard explores relationships between Europe and the Middle East and relationships between people with an equally fierce intelligence. The musicality and musicology in the book are reflected in the lyricism of Charlotte Mandell’s translation.’
Mathias Énard was born in 1972 in Niort, France, studied Persian and Arabic and spent long periods in the Middle East travelling before settling in Barcelona where he composed his first novel, La Perfection du Tir. He is best known for his 2008 novel, Zone. He won the 2015 Prix Goncourt for Compass.
Charlotte Mandellhas translated ï¬ction, poetry, and philosophy from French, including works by Proust, Flaubert, Genet, Maupassant, Blanchot, and many other distinguished authors. She received a Literature Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for Zone.
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Number of pages: 480
Dimensions: 195 x 127 mm
You may also be interested in...
Please sign in to write a review