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Birth of a Bridgeby Maylis De Kerangal
Synopses & Reviews
From one of the most exciting novelists writing in France today comes this literary saga of a dozen men and women engineers, designers, machinery operators, cable riggers all employees of the international consortium charged with building a bridge somewhere in a mythical and fantastic California.
Told on a sweeping scale reminiscent of classic American adventure films, this Médicis Prizewinning novel chronicles the lives of these workers, who represent a microcosm of not just mythic California, but of humanity as a whole. Their collective effort to complete the megaproject recounts one of the oldest of human dramas, to domesticate and to radically transform our world through built form, with all the dramatic tension it brings: a threatened strike, an environmental dispute, sabotage, accidents, career moves, and love affairs Here generations and social classes cease to exist, and everyone and everything converges toward the bridge as metaphor, a cross-cultural impression of America today.
Kerangals writing has been widely praised for its scope, originality, and use of language. The style of her prose is rich and innovative, playing with different registers (from the most highly literary to the most colloquial slang), taking risks and inventing words, and playing with speed and tension through grammatical ellipsis and elision. She employs a huge vocabulary and, most strikingly, brings together words not often combined to evoke startling comparisons. Not since Vikram Seths Golden Gate has such a great Californian novel been told.
"French novelist de Kerangal creates a modern saga chronicling the construction of a colossal bridge. The original edition won both the 2010 Prix MÃ©dicis and the 2010 Prix Franz Hessel. Beginning with an international consortium winning the tender and hundreds of people — project managers, engineers, crane operators, truck drivers — converging on a small town in California, the novel weaves their individual stories into one grand narrative. While the bridge undoubtedly will bring prosperity to the town, the native groups and the as-yet unspoiled land on the far side of the river will be forever compromised. Opposition groups form, progress is threatened. And progress itself is an ambiguous element in the novel, often taking the form of political corruption. But there is also lyricism and beauty to be found through each character's obsessive outlook on the land and the bridge. Moore (winner of the PEN America Translation Award) stays true to de Kerangal's unique prose, which flows from the mythic to the mundane. Her translation is clear and unadorned. The story told through its varied cast of characters, alternating from the grandiose to the intimate, is one that will stay with readers long after the book is closed and the bridge is built. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reminiscent of the sweeping scale of classic American adventure films, this Medici Prize-winning novel chronicles the construction of an immense suspension bridge in a fictional city in California. Maylis de Kerangal interweaves the stories of a dozen men and women from the consortium of workers who converge on the site. With their various nationalities and social classes, these engineers, designers, divers, overseers, and protesters present a microcosm of not just California, but of humanity as a whole. Their collective effort to realize the megaproject recounts one of the oldest of human dramas, to domesticate—and to radically transform—our world through built form.
Kerangal's writing has been widely praised for its scope, originality, and use of language. The style of her prose is rich and innovative, playing with different registers (from the most highly literary to the most colloquial slang), taking risks and inventing words, and playing with speed and tension through grammatical ellipsis and elision. She employs a huge vocabulary and, most strikingly, brings together words not often combined to evoke startling comparisons.
Maylis de Kerangal is the author of several novels in French. Her most recent, Naissance d'un pont / Birth of a Bridge, won not only the Medici Prize but also the Franz Hessel Prize. She lives in Paris, France.
Jessica Moore is the author of Everything, Now, part lyric, part memoir, as well as a translation of Jean-François Beauchemin's Turkana Boy. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
The consortium of workers who gather during construction of a mythical bridge engineers, designers, divers, overseers, protesters with their various nationalities and social classes present a microcosm of not just California, but humanity as a whole. Through strong use of metaphor, the story of the bridge's construction becomes, in a sense, the story of construction of the novel.
About the Author
Maylis de Kerangal is the author of several novels in French. Her most recent, Naissance dun pont / Birth of a Bridge, won le prix Médicis and le prix Franz Hessel.
Jessica Moore is the author of Everything, Now, part lyric, part memoir, published in 2012 published by Brick Books. In the same year, Talonbooks published her translation of Jean-François Beauchemins Turkana Boy. She also writes songs and plays the banjo her band, Charms, launched a self-titled album in 2010 in Toronto.
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