Small Axes picks up 'provocative' autofiction from Daas

Small Axes picks up 'provocative' autofiction from Daas

Small Axes, an imprint of HopeRoad Publishing, has acquired The Last One by French-Algerian author Fatima Daas, to be translated by Lara Vergnaud. 

Pete Ayrton, editor, acquired UK rights from Charlotte Seymour at Andrew Nurnberg Associates on behalf of Other Press, New York, for publication in January 2022. 

The novel was first published in French in 2020 and is billed as a "powerful, lyrical work of autofiction". It draws on the author’s experiences growing up in a suburb of Paris and explores the "diverse, often conflicting facets of her identity – French, Algerian, Muslim, lesbian", the publisher said.

The synopsis reads: "The youngest daughter of Algerian immigrants, Fatima Daas is raised in a home where love and sexuality are considered taboo and signs of affection avoided. Living in the majority-Muslim Clichy-sous-Bois, she often spends more than three hours a day on public transport to and from the city, where she feels like a tourist observing Parisian manners. She goes from unstable student to maladjusted adult, doing four years of therapy – her longest relationship. But as she gains distance from her family and comes into her own, she grapples more directly with her attraction to women and how it fits with her religion, which she continues to practice. When Nina comes into her life, she doesn’t know exactly what she needs but feels that something crucial has been missing."

Ayrton said: "A brilliant, provocative novel that lays out the narrator’s life– she is French from a Paris suburb, Muslim and lesbian – in the form of a religious chant. One oppression after the other is overcome on this literary roller-coaster. The contradictions of the narrator’s life remain unsolved – this is no happy ending!"