EASTBOUND by Maylis de Kerangal
120 x 180mm, 114 pages, black and white printing, perfect bound, softcover, 2022
Translated from the French by Jessica Moore
Eastbound maps the fast-paced story of two fugitives on the Trans-Siberian Railway, where a desperate Russian conscript hopes a chance encounter with an older French woman will offer him a line of flight.
Published in France one year after Kerangal’s award-winning novel Birth of a Bridge (2010), Eastbound breathes new life into the Russian literary archetype of the rebel soldier and revives the reality of disempowerment of the Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint Petersburg protest. Inspired by Kerangal’s observations on the ground, the novella developed from a France Culture radio commission for a short story, written whilst travelling on the Trans-Siberian from Novossibirsk to Vladivostok, as part of the French Ministry of Culture’s programme of French-Russian events in 2010.
‘The fever burning through this story, and its lyrical escapes don’t curb its sensuality, and precision. [Kerangal’s] language has an incredible driving force. It is both like a stone made up of many crystals, mixing registers with fluidity, and juxtaposing the poetic and the trivial. The whole thing has a unique rhythm, a sense of breathless speed: the sort of graceful rockslide that only she can pull off. In flux between interior and exterior, this is the perfect voyage.’ – Le Monde des Livres