c.300 pages | Publication in France: January 2012/May 2012/Fall 2013 | Finished copies available (vol.1&2), English translation | Flammarion | Author photo: ©Bertini
- Winner of the 2012 Prix Lagardere and Lire's Prize for Best Debut Novel
“A gem. Sabri Louatah: an Arab Philip Roth.” -Francois Busnel, La Grande Librairie
On the eve of the presidential election the whole of France is buzzing: for the first time in history, a candidate of Algerian heritage might win. You can hear the dismay of some that the next French President might be an Arab, and the snide murmurs of others whose cynicism will keep them from voting. . . But the overwhelming noise on the street comes from those who eagerly embrace “change they can believe in.”
It is against this backdrop that the sprawling Nerrouche family gathers to celebrate a wedding in the former mining town of Saint-Etienne. Young Krim should be focused on his mission for the day: he is the best man for his favorite cousin Slimane, a.k.a. Slim.
But Krim is restless and distracted. Is it the palpable unease surrounding the alliance between a Berber groom and an Arab bride—both French-born, both of Algerian origin, but whose families get on like oil and water? Is it the nagging suspicion that the groom might be gay? Or is it the flow of text messages that Krim keeps receiving from his mysterious Paris-based cousin, Nazir (the only family member to be conspicuously absent from the festivities)?
As this gripping twenty-four hour countdown unfolds, Krim hops on a high-speed train heading to the nation's capital, and we hold our breath as we watch family and politics collide and the hopes of a nation unravel.
With a combination of ease, grace, and an uncanny sense of urgency, twenty-nine-year-old Sabri Louatah brushes away the boundaries between literary and commercial fiction. The Savages is paced like a thriller, but its intimate exploration of a superbly dysfunctional family, its vulnerable and flawed characters, have the intensity, mystery, and unsettling quality of first-class literary fiction.
Louatah has created The Savages as a novel in four volumes—bringing together the ambition and scope of nineteenth-century literary epics and the best in addictive modern television series.
Praise for THE SAVAGES;
“An ambitious social fresco, with echoes of Millemnium and Zola's novels, the writing is remarkable – by its vitality, its creativity, its generosity. Original and convincing, The Savages is reminiscent of Alejandro González Iñárritu's films (Babel, Biutiful…). From the law and police, to the press and politics, The Savages is a gallery of portraits, devoid of bitterness and naivetë. We impatiently await the final duel.” - Virginie Despentes, Le Monde des livres
“The Savages: as classic as a 19th century Russian novel and as modern and as fast-paced as 24.” - Le Nouvel Observateur
“I wanted to be a novelist. And so I spent years educating myself on my own. Proust and Tolstoy were my favorite authors, but the American writers of the second half of the twentieth century truly inspired me: Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, John Updike, and especially Vladimir Nabokov. Then in the midst of the fall 2005 riots, I understood that my country was broken and at that point I realized that I wanted to tell the story of this fracture. I needed unstable emotional territory to do so, a zone of discomfort, a place that was still raw: so I chose my large and rambunctious family, and wrote the first volume of The Savages.”
– Sabri Louatah