The Newberry, in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Chicago, is pleased to welcome Maylis de Kerangal, multiple prize winning French author, to present and discuss her book The Heart. The talk will be moderated by Professor Alison James from the University of Chicago. The Heart has mesmerized readers in France, where it has been hailed as the break-through work of a new literary star. This literary event would be the first of the EUNIC- European Union National Institutes for Culture- Book Club Series dedicated to European books in translation in Chicago. Discussion of The Heart will be followed by a wine and cheese reception. This event is free, but registration is required. Please register here.
About the Book
The Heart is a novel that depicts both the concrete, physical idea of the heart and the abstract, intangible notion of it. The Heart takes place over the twenty-four hours surrounding a fatal accident and a resulting heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a woman close to death. In gorgeous, ruminative prose it examines the deepest feelings of everyone involved–grieving parents, hardworking doctors and nurses–as they navigate decisions of life and death. The writing is uncommonly beautiful and never lacking humanity. This poetic interrogation of our contemporary medical reality provides a view only literature can provide. The Heart has received complimentary reviews due to the reality portrayed throughout the book and the idea of organ donation posed as a philosophical question.
About the Author
Maylis de Kerangal is the author of several novels in French, including Je marche sous un ciel de traîne (2000), La vie voyageuse (2003), Corniche Kennedy (2008), and Naissance d’un pont (published in English as “Birth of a Bridge,” winner of the Prix Franz Hessel and Prix Médicis in 2010). She has also published a collection of short stories, Ni fleurs ni couronnes (2006), and a novella, Tangente vers l’est (winner of the 2012 Prix Landerneau). In addition, she has published a fiction tribute to Kate Bush and Blondie titled Dans les rapides (2007). In 2014, her fifth novel, Réparer les vivants (“The Heart”), was published to wide acclaim, and won the Grand Prix RTL-Lire and the Student Choice Novel of the Year from France Culture and Télérama. It was translated in English, German and Catalan. The novel has also been adopted for the stage at the Festival d’Avignon, one of the most important contemporary performing arts events in the world. She lives in Paris, France.
About the Moderator
Alison James is an associate Professor of French Literature, and the College at the Department of Romance Languages and Cultures of the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching focus on twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature, in particular the Oulipo group, representations of everyday life, contemporary nonfiction narrative, and connections between literature and philosophy.
About Cultural Services of the French Embassy
The Cultural Services is a division of the French Embassy in the United States to promote the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, and higher education in the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country including Chicago, the French Cultural Services brings artists, authors, educational and university programs to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic.
This event is organized and supported by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the France Chicago Center and Department of Romance Languages and Literature at the University of Chicago who have been, and continue to be, strong influences in connecting solid ties between the U.S. and the French & Francophone culture. This event is part of EUNIC Book Club Series organized in partnership with members of the EUNIC- European Union National Institutes for Culture- in Chicago which includes, under the leadership of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Consulate General of Czech Republic, the Goethe Institute, the Instituto Cervantes, the Alliance Française de Chicago, the Consulate General of Lithuania and the Consulate General of Poland.
This program is free, however, registration is required. Please register here.