The Son of Man

Jean-Baptiste Del Amo


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Fitzcarraldo Editions
23 May 2024
ISBN: 9781804270912
224 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Frank Wynne

After several years of absence, a man reappears in the life of his wife and their young son and takes them to the dilapidated house in the mountains. The Son of Man is an exceptional novel on the transmission of violence from one generation to the next.  

There, the son discovers a nature unknown to him, wild and bewitching. As the father’s hold over mother and child grows and he dictates the mysterious laws of their new existence, the return to their previous life and home seems increasingly impossible. Haunted by his past and consumed with jealousy, the man slowly sinks into madness and his son has no choice but to challenge his father in an attempt to save something of their humanity. Brilliantly translated by Frank Wynne, The Son of Man is an exceptional novel on the transmission of violence from one generation to the next, and the second of Jean-Baptiste Del Amo’s novels to appear in English following Animalia, ‘an extraordinary book’ (Sunday Times). 

‘The theme of transmission between father and son is at the heart of the novel. It is marked by a macabre determinism, everything is already played for, poisoned. A wandering insane grandfather casts a shadow and bad luck ricochets on his descendants. Jean-Baptiste Del Amo does not shy away from showing the atrocious. He has several strings to his hunter’s bow; an art of careful framing, of scenic observation. A taste for the primeval drive mixed with intuitions and perceptions.… There are many magnificent scenes, such as the son swimming in the river with his mother. Brief moments of light amidst the darkness and a fear so intense you could cut it with a knife.' 
— Le Figaro Littéraire