SEVEN HOUSES IN FRANCE

Bernardo Atxaga

The year is 1903, and the garrison of Yangambi on the banks of the Congo is under the command of Captain Biran. The captain is a poet whose ambition is to amass a fortune and return to the literary cafés of Paris. His glamorous wife, Christine, has a further ambition: to own seven houses in France, one for every year he has been abroad. At Biran’s side are the brutal womanizer van Thiegel, and the treacherous Donatien, who dreams of running a brothel. The officers spend their days guarding enslaved rubber-tappers and kidnapping girls. At their hands the jungle is transformed into a circus of human ambition and absurdity.

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The year is 1903, and the garrison of Yangambi on the banks of the Congo is under the command of Captain Biran. The captain is a poet whose ambition is to amass a fortune and return to the literary cafés of Paris. His glamorous wife, Christine, has a further ambition: to own seven houses in France, one for every year he has been abroad. At Biran’s side are the brutal womanizer van Thiegel, and the treacherous Donatien, who dreams of running a brothel. The officers spend their days guarding enslaved rubber-tappers and kidnapping girls. At their hands the jungle is transformed into a circus of human ambition and absurdity. But everything changes with the arrival of a new officer and brilliant marksman: the enigmatic Chrysostome Liege. An outstanding new novel from the critically acclaimed and prizewinning author Bernardo Atxaga, Seven Houses in France is a blackly comic tale that reveals the darkest sides of human desire.

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  • Graywolf Press
  • Paperback
  • September 2012
  • 256 Pages
  • 9781555976231

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$14.00

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About Bernardo Atxaga

Bernardo Atxaga was born in Asteasu, Gipuzkoa in 1951. He has written several novels, short story collections, poetry collections, articles, and children’s books, in addition to work in scriptwriting and theatre. Most recently Atxaga was awarded the 2008 Mondello Prize.

Praise

“A colorful tale of decay in the Belgian Congo. . . . as irresistible as García Márquez, as forceful as Vargas Llosa. . . . Atxaga’s story is fresh, his treatment of violence psychologically rich.”The Guardian

“Basque writer Atxaga puts us squarely in Heart of Darkness territory, although his is a more blackly absurd vision of the world than that of Joseph Conrad. Unsettling, often unpleasant, but undeniably compelling.”The Daily Mail

Seven Houses in France is a dark comedy about the vanity of human desires which deftly balances compassion and cynicism.”The Financial Times

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