Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed Emmanuel Carrère, an act of generous imagination that unflinchingly records devastating loss and, equally vividly, the wealth of human solace that follows in its wake
In Sri Lanka, a tsunami sweeps a child out to sea, her grand-father helpless against the onrushing water. In France, a young woman succumbs to illness, leaving her husband and small children bereft. Present at both events, Emmanuel Carrère sets out to tell the story of two families—shattered and ultimately restored. What he accomplishes is nothing short of a literary miracle: a heartrending narrative of endless love, a meditation on courage and decency in the face of adversity, an intimate and reverent look at the extraordinary beauty and nobility of ordinary lives.
Precise, sober, and suspenseful, as full of twists and turns as any novel, Lives Other Than My Own confronts terrifying catastrophes to illuminate the astonishing richness of human connection: a grandfather who thought he had found paradise—too soon—and now devotes himself to helping his neighbors rebuild their village; a husband so in love with his ailing wife that he carries her in his arms like a knight does his princess; and finally, Carrère himself, longtime chronicler of the tormented self, who unexpectedly finds consolation and even joy as he immerses himself in the lives of others.
"CarrÃ¨re (The Adversary) somewhat smugly asserts himself, in this autobiographical novel, as a puppeteer of grand emotions, evoking with a merciless hand incredible sadness, hope, and even surprise. When the tsunami hits Sri Lanka in 2004, CarrÃ¨re's family remains intact, but all around him he witnesses families destroyed, an aftermath full of horror, and insurmountable grief. Arriving home in Paris, CarrÃ¨re's partner, HÃ©lÃ¨ne, learns that her younger sister, having fought cancer most of her life, will soon be dead. After this initial heartrending third, the novel shifts from excessive tragedy to an investigative foray, undertaken with CarrÃ¨re's longtime friend Ã‰tienne, into French magistrate jurisdiction over credit lending and debt collection. Here CarrÃ¨re shows his mastery as a storyteller, unexpectedly revealing the small heroics of a lesser known profession in a way that is delightful, humanizing, and suspenseful. When the narrative again takes a poignant turn, the reader is better prepared and more invested. Although often difficult, CarrÃ¨re's work here is thoughtful and laced with moments of brilliance. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In Sri Lanka, a tsunami sweeps a child out to sea, her grandfather helpless against the onrushing water. In France, a woman dies from cancer, leaving her husband and small children bereft. What links these two catastrophes is the presence of Emmanuel Carrère, who manages to find consolation and even joy as he immerses himself in lives other than his own. The result is a heartrending narrative of endless love, a meditation on courage in the face of adversity, and an intimate look at the beauty of ordinary lives.
About the Author
Emmanuel Carrère, novelist, filmmaker, journalist, and biographer, is the award-winning internationally renowned author of The Adversary (a New York Times Notable Book), Lives Other Than My Own, My Life As A Russian Novel, Class Trip and The Mustache. Carrère lives in Paris.