Maylis de Kerangal


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Les Fugitives
15 September 2022
ISBN: 9781838490447
120 pages

From the publisher

Translated from the French by Jessica Moore

Eastbound maps the fast-paced story of two fugitives on the Trans-Siberian Railway, where a desperate Russian conscript hopes a chance encounter with an older French woman will offer him a line of flight.

‘Richly atmospheric and full of suspense, Eastbound combines a vibrant account of one of the most magical train journeys in the world, with a narrative of a double escape, depicting an unlikely alliance of a French woman trying to leave her lover by travelling in the wrong direction, and a heartbreakingly young Russian draft dodger. It takes a great writer to manage all that so convincingly in one hundred and twenty thrilling pages.’ – Vesna Goldsworthy, author of Iron Curtain

‘Wonderfully immersive prose, relentlessly propulsive as the movement of a train but rhythmically dipping into and out of her characters’ perspective, worldview, psychology.' – Jonathan Gibbs, author of Randall

‘The fever burning through this story, and its lyrical escapes don’t curb its sensuality, and precision. [Kerangal’s] language has an incredible driving force. It is both like a stone made up of many crystals, mixing registers with fluidity, and juxtaposing the poetic and the trivial. The whole thing has a unique rhythm, a sense of breathless speed: the sort of graceful rockslide that only she can pull off. In flux between interior and exterior, this is the perfect voyage.’ – Le Monde des Livres

Published in France one year after Kerangal’s award-winning novel Birth of a Bridge (2010), Eastbound breathes new life into the Russian literary archetype of the rebel soldier and revives the reality of disempowerment of the Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint Petersburg protest. Inspired by Kerangal’s observations on the ground, the novella developed from a France Culture radio commission for a short story, written whilst travelling on the Trans-Siberian from Novossibirsk to Vladivostok, as part of the French Ministry of Culture’s programme of French-Russian events in 2010.