December 14, 2010
novel | pb | 517 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"
"The novel of the decade, if not of the century."
Francis Servain Mirković, a French-born Croat who has been working for the French Intelligence Services for fifteen years, is traveling by train from Milan to Rome. He’s carrying a briefcase whose contents he’s selling to a representative from the Vatican; the briefcase contains a wealth of information about the violent history of the Zone—the lands of the Mediterranean basin, Spain, Algeria, Lebanon, Italy, that have become Mirković’s specialty.
Over the course of a single night, Mirković visits the sites of these tragedies in his memory and recalls the damage that his own participation in that violence—as a soldier fighting for Croatia during the Balkan Wars—has wreaked in his own life. Mirkovic´ hopes that this night will be his last in the Zone, that this journey will expiate his sins, and that he can disappear with Sashka, the only woman he hasn’t abandoned, forever . . .
One of the truly original books of the decade—and written as a single, hypnotic, propulsive, physically irresistible sentence—Mathias Énard’s Zone provides an extraordinary and panoramic view of the turmoil that has long deviled the shores of the Mediterranean.
Translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell
Introduction by Brian Evenson
About the Author: Mathias Énard studied Persian and Arabic and spent long periods in the Middle East. A professor of Arabic at the University of Barcelona, he won the Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie and the Prix Edmée de la Rochefoucault for his first novel, La perfection du tir. He has been awarded many prizes for Zone, including the Prix du Livre Inter and the Prix Décembre.
"A modern Iliad. . . . You turn the pages as if it were a great thriller. . . . A great novel. You must read it!"
—François Busnel, Tv5, France