WINNER OF THE PRIX MAISON DE LA PRESSE, THE PRIX LOUISE-GUILLOUX, AND THE PRIX DU SALON DU LIVRE DU MANS
“Franco-Mauritian writer Laurent, in her potent English-language debut, overlays a tragic love story onto a powerful account of historical injustice in the Chagos Archipelago….The many moments of gruesome colonial brutality are undercut by the Chagossians’ tenderness, courage, and simmering rage in response to incalculable loss. Gabriel and Marie’s saga, which involves a hunger strike, murder, and other dramatic episodes, is interspersed with a piercing 2019 narrative from an adult Joséphin: ‘Believe me. Our fate affects you all,’ he notes. Thanks to Laurent’s devastating work, readers will, indeed, have their eyes and hearts opened.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
AN EPIC LOVE STORY SET AGAINST A BACKDROP OF INJUSTICE, DEVASTATING SECRETS, AND THE PAINFUL PRICE OF INDEPENDENCE.
“It’s a story my mother told me. Not a fairy tale or a fable, no, but a true story that she scratched at every so often like a nasty wound. An island tragedy,” says award-winning novelist, Caroline Laurent. “My mother described her childhood in Mauritius, long before—before Europe, before exile, before me—and then a word escaped her lips, Chagos, with its two easy syllables, sha and go, that could have been tossed just as easily as jacks. Her face darkened. Her gaze was lost momentarily, or rather turned inward, digging deep within herself. The archipelago was tormented. Its poor people had been sold off! Sitting in the kitchen, I could make out the tragedy even though I didn’t understand any of it.”
Inspired by a shocking travesty of justice, the repercussions of which still reverberate more than fifty years later, bestselling Franco-Mauritian author Caroline Laurent has written an exquisitely beautiful and tragic novel based on the authentic story of the inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago. In AN IMPOSSIBLE RETURN (Amazon Crossing; December 1, 2022), expertly translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman, Caroline Laurent paints a shimmering portrait of island life, a sensual paradise lost, and a gorgeous star-crossed love story against all odds.
It’s 1967 in the Chagos Archipelago—a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean—and life is peaceful and simple for hardworking Marie. Her fierce independence and love for her home are quickly apparent to Gabriel, the handsome and sophisticated Mauritian secretary to the archipelago’s administrator; it’s love at first sight. As these two lovers from neighboring islands welcome a new son, Joséphin, a bright future seems possible. But Gabriel is hiding a terrible secret. The Mauritian government is negotiating independence from Britain, and this deal with the devil will mean evacuating the Chagos, without warning or mercy—a betrayal that will put their love to the test.
A novel of exile, heartbreak and hope, AN IMPOSSIBLE RETURN serves as a beautiful tribute to the Chagossian people.
We have lined up a wonderful schedule of highly acclaimed bloggers who will share features, post reviews and offer giveaways throughout the month December. Follow along to learn more about this award-winning novel in translation!
Thursday, December 1 – BLUNT SCISSORS BOOK REVIEWS
Thursday, December 1 – NURSE BOOKIE
Friday, December 2 – SUE THE BOOKIE
Friday, December 2 – BRITT READS A LATTE BOOKS
Saturday, December 3 – MOMMA LEIGHELLEN’S BOOK NOOK
Sunday, December 4 – BOOKS, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING
Monday, December 5 – AIMEE DARS READS
Monday, December 5 – WHAT IS THAT BOOK ABOUT
Tuesday, December 6 – BLACK, BIRACIAL, AND BOOKISH
Tuesday, December 6 – LILACS AND LITERATURE
Wednesday, December 7 – TINA MAY READS
Thursday, December 8 – WE LOVE BIG BOOKS AND WE CANNOT LIE
Friday, December 9 – SUZY APPROVED BOOK REVIEWS
Saturday, December 10 – WE BREAK FOR BOOKS
Monday, December 12 – MEG’S BOOK CLUB
Tuesday. December 13 – LITERARY QUICKSAND
Wednesday December 14 – BOOKS N BIKRAM
Thursday, December 15 – BOOK LOVER LAURA
Friday, December 16 – SUBAKKA BOOKSTUFF
Friday, December 16 – DAI 2 DAI READER
Monday, December 19 – DANISH MUSTARD READS
Saturday, December 17 – MELANN ROSENTHAL
Tuesday, December 20 – GLORIANA WONG