It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Born Of No Woman by Franck Bouysse. Translated from the French by LaraVergnaud.
The Word-of-Mouth International Bestseller – The tagline couldn’t be a more appropriate description for this book. ‘Born Of No Woman has won every prize awarded by readers in France, including the Grand Prix Des Lectrices Elle, one of the most important prizes in France. It has also won the Prix Des Libraires (given by booksellers), Prix Psychologies Magazine and the Prix Babelio.’
About the Author
Franck Bouysse is a French author. His novels Grossir le ciel in 2014, Plateau in 2016 and Glaise in 2017 have met with wide success and won a vast array of literary awards. Previously a teacher of biology and horticulture, Bouysse lives in the south-west of France.
About the book
Nineteenth-century rural France. – Before he is called to bless the body of a woman at the nearby asylum, Father Gabriel receives a strange, troubling confession: hidden under the woman’s dress he will find notebooks in which she confides the abuses she suffered and the twisted motivations behind them.
And so Rose’s terrible story comes to light: sold as a teenage girl to a rich man, hidden away in a old manor house deep in the woods and caught in a perverse web, manipulated by those society considers her betters. A girl whose only escape is to capture her life – in all its devastation and hope – in the pages of her diary…
First and foremost, kudos to the translator Lara Vergnaud. Without a skilled translator, who also comprehends the art of storytelling, and not just the technicality of translation, it would be impossible to grasp and give readers the true voice of the original language and story.
It’s an incredible piece of literary fiction and Bouysse is a master of his craft. The lyrical prose flows endlessly with such ease. It comforts and soothes, and yet simultaneously disturbs, angers and makes the reader feel a whirlpool of emotions.
A fourteen-year-old girl, one of four sisters, is sold by her father to a wealthy blacksmith. It takes her a while to understand the betrayal and her fate. It also takes her many years to reclaim her name – Rose. The new chapter in her young life appears at first to be that of a skivvy. A maid, cook, servant and general dogsbody. But the truth is far worse than she could ever have imagined.
Father Gabriel becomes aware of the story of Rose when her diaries come into his possession in the most tragic of circumstances, and what he reads both compels, drives and changes him forever.
It’s a masterpiece of literary fiction, which clearly hasn’t reached enough eyes and ears overseas as yet. The storytelling has a natural fluidity to it, even as the story hops from one narrator to the other. It’s a mystery, crime, so many things, and yet at the heart it is a story about identity, loss and the fragile connections that are woven between us on so many different levels. It’s a beautiful story, written by an amazing writer.
Buy Born Of No Woman at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on 21 October 2021 in hardback: £14.99, eBook: £7.99, and audio: £19.99. Buy at Amazon com. At Weidenfeld and Nicolson.