The Living Days
Ananda Devi, Jeffrey Zuckerman, Cecile Menon
A chance encounter on Portobello Road incites an unsettling, magnetic attraction between Mary, an elderly white woman, and Cub, a British-Jamaican boy, and drives her crumbling world into heightened delusion. The two struggle to keep their footing as white supremacy, desperation and class conflict collide on the streets of London. Through exquisite juxtaposition, Ananda Devi exposes the tensions of an increasingly nationalistic and polarised metropolis. At once realistic and fantastical, The Living Days encapsulates Devi’s daring, unflinching talent and paints an unforgettable portrait of London at it’s most bewitching, and most dangerous.
UK reviews: 'The Mauritian author explores how legacies of colonialism and empire persist amid acts of cruelty and violence in London ... A meditation on urban inequality, in which the politics of race and class loom large.' (Guardian).'This is a novel of great beauty as well as discomfiting disclosure. Ananda Devi's writing challenges us to reconfigure our own beliefs about right and wrong and to look beyond our own comfortable lives to consider the reality of others. ' (New Internationalist). ''Mary Grimes, the central character of The Living Days exists, like the novel itself, in a liminal space between the possible and the mythic; between material being and ghostly half-life... This is not a novel which offers any reassurance. We never enter a settled space of familiarity. Even within the internal logic of the novel, the nature of what we are reading becomes unstable... Living Days is never a predictable novel, indeed it is never less than perplexing and unsettling.' (The Irish Times). `Beautifully written, visceral and ecstatic. Unafraid, as Angels might be, to bear witness to the force of entropy pulling us all towards death.' (Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young). `A demanding and important book by a true artist and a great writer'.' (Lara Pawson, author of This Is the Place To Be).`; US reviews: 'Devi is alert to the ways in which social forces, such as racism and ageism, are reshaping London's already complex post-colonial landscape, and her fluid, poetic language memorably conjures a union of two outcasts.' (The New Yorker). The finest Mauritian novelist at work today, Ananda Devi has long been the francophone saint of the outcast, the oppressed, and the derelict. This fluid translation of one of her darkest works gives the reader a glimpse at her profound talent and her unique ability to synthesize political rage with poetic lyricism.' (Adam Hocker, Albertine). 'Brutal and entirely believable, a gorgeous and haunting depiction of London and the real lives and memories of those unseen within it.' (Publishers Weekly). 'A gorgeously written, profoundly upsetting fairy tale of race, class, power, and desire.' (Kirkus Reviews, starred review); French reviews: 'A fierce portrait of our times. . . Sensual and provocative writing, woven of dreams and nightmares, which slowly closes around the reader and holds them in its grasp.' (Le Monde des Livres). 'Old age always bears a private violence. Ananda Devi describes its inevitable symptoms whilst ever letting us glimpse an illusion of spring.' (L'Humanite).
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