Lola Lafon, Hildegarde Serle
An impassioned novel on the consequences of sexual exploitation and the dead ends of forgiveness
13-year-old Cleo lives a drab existence with her parents in a suburb of Paris.
Her life changes when she is offered the chance to obtain a scholarship – issued by a mysterious Foundation – to realise her dream and become a modern jazz dancer. But there is more to the Foundation and their suave representative than meets the eye. Soon Cleo finds a trap has closed in on her, and she’s fallen prey to a sinister system in which she’ll eventually become complicit.
Over 30 years later, a cache of images surfaces on the internet and exposes the Foundation’s exploitative, hidden purposes. The police put out a call for witnesses, and Cleo, now with a successful career as a dancer behind her, comes to realise the past has come back to haunt her. As her sense of self diffracts into multiple, contrasting images, there’s no way out but to confront her double burden as victim and predator.
"The deep relevance and the nuanced portrayal of the myriad effects of abuse on their lives are skilfully done.... Layered and disquieting." * Kirkus Reviews * "A harrowing, painful story, draped in beautifully melancholy writing." * Les Echos Week-End * "A beautiful, intense novel." * Madame Figaro * "A fiercely feminist novel... compulsively readable too." * The New Yorker on The Little Communist that Never Smiled * "A thought-provoking, surprisingly touching story about a little girl who shook up the world." * The Big Issue on The Little Communist that Never Smiled *
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