“Where is your wound?” asks Jean Genet in the lines Laurent Mauvignier uses as an epigraph to The Wound. By the time we have finished this four-part novel, we realize that for many the wound lies four decades back in “the Events” that people have tried to not talk about ever since: the Algerian War. Chronicling the lives of two cousins—Bernard and Rabut—both in the present and at the time of the Algerian War of Independence in the 1960s, we get a full picture of the lasting effects this event had on the men who were involved. Through the fragments of their stories we see the whole history of the war: its atrocities, its horrors, and its hatreds. Mauvignier shows readers how the Algerian War, always present yet always repressed, has sickened the emotional and moral life of everyone it touched—and France itself, perhaps. The epigraph, like the novel, suggests that wounded men may even become the wound itself.
Laurent Mauvignier is the author of several novels in French and is the winner of four literary prizes, including the Prix Wepler. David and Nicole Ball, both independent translators in Northampton, Massachusetts, have published several translations separately as well as together, including Abdourahman A. Waberi’s In the United States of Africa (Nebraska, 2009). Nick Flynn is a writer of poetry, fiction, and memoir. His most recent books include The Reenactments: A Memoir and The Ticking Is the Bomb.
“One of France’s most talented writers, Laurent Mauvignier always kept a low profile on the literary scene—until his stunning novel about the Algerian War became a runaway bestseller.”—France Today
“The Wound gives us a France that few American readers will recognize, a land and a people marked by a history in which memory and violence can seem indistinguishable. . . . David and Nicole Ball’s translation is as elegant as a flick-knife—a superb version of this viscerally important novel.”—Michael Gorra, author of Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece
“[Mauvignier is] one of the major French writers today.”—Lire Magazine