Publishing collective Les Fugitives will publish a YA edition of Ananda Devi’s Eve Out of Her Ruins, translated from French by Jeffrey Zuckerman.
The translation was originally published as an adult title by Les Fugitives in 2016. This new YA edition will feature a new preface from the author as well as a new design geared towards a younger audience, said the publisher. Alongside the new print version, the title will be the publisher's first audiobook.
The publication has received funding from Arts Council England to raise awareness of contemporary literary fiction in translation for young readers, as well as the literary representation of young adults with dual cultural heritage or an ethnically diverse background, as the language of the book draws from Hindi, Creole and English, as well as French.
The synopsis for the title reads: "Two girls: Eve, whose body is her only weapon and source of power; Savita, Eve's best friend and the only one who loves her without self-interest, has plans to leave but will not go alone. Two boys: Saadiq, gifted would-be poet, deeply in love with Eve; Clélio, the neighbourhood tough, waiting without hope for his brother to send for him from France. Set in a part of the island nation of Mauritius which tourists never see, this poetic thriller contrasts the perspectives of four young people desperate to escape their native country's endless cycle of fear and violence."
Publisher Cécile Menon said: “Eve out of Her Ruins is the first young adult edition published by Les Fugitives. It has been on the curriculum of the baccalaureate in France for several years, and I am delighted to be bringing its extraordinary story to young adult readers in the UK. A fragmentary novel told through four young perspectives, it is a most compelling and poetically written mystery, as well as a story of brutality, strength, resilience and truth. Translator Jeffrey Zuckerman has captured the beauty and clarity of the original.”
Devi commented: "In 2005, the riots that had broken out in the Paris banlieues suddenly gave a different meaning to the story I had [recently] begun. I realised it wasn’t just about the disenfranchised youth in Mauritius: it was about all of them, whether in Paris, London, Bueno Aires, Mumbai or New York. It was about who they were, how they saw the gap between rich and poor growing wider and wider, how prejudice, racism, unemployment and discrimination were preventing them from coming out of the rut in which they found themselves; how they couldn’t see a way out. A way out of the physical and mental prisons in which they found themselves confined, a way out of the ever-higher walls that surrounded them, a way out of their own skin, which seemed to have become too constricting for them.
"I wanted to make their voices heard; and so, I wrote in the first person for the four protagonists, each with different fears and different hopes. I wrote in the voice of their subconscious, which wasn’t restricted by local idioms but was profound and poetic and painful. I wrote for them, and not about them. All those kids for whom violence was not a conquest, but the resistance of the hopeless, as Saad says in the book. I loved them and wanted to find a way out for them. I couldn’t, not for everyone. So I have left a trail of crumbs for some of them to follow. Even now, fifteen years later, in a world that seems to be teetering even more on the brink of the unknown, I think of Eve, Clélio and Saad, and I hope that they were able to follow this trail."
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