Winner of the Prix Renaudot Shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt
Elisabeth is a woman whose curiosity and passion far exceed the borders of her quiet middle-class life. She befriends a neighbor, organizes a small dinner party. And then, quite suddenly, finds herself embarked with him on an adventure that is one part vaudeville and one part high tragedy. A quiet novel of manners turns into a police procedural thriller. Her motivations for risking everything she has are never transparent. In a world where matters of life and death are nearly always transported to a clinical setting, whether it be a hospital or a courtroom, here each character must confront them unassisted. A truly original and masterful novel from one of the world’s most inventive and daring artists.
About the Author
Playwright and novelist Yasmina Reza’s books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Her play ‘Art’ was the first translated play to win a Tony Award; Conversations After a Burial, The Unexpected Man, and Life X 3 have all been award-winning critical and commercial successes internationally; and God of Carnage, which also won a Tony Award, was made into a film directed by Roman Polanski with Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, and John C. Reilly. Her play Bella Figura premiered in Germany in May 2015. Her fiction includes Hammerklavier, Desolation, and Adam Haberberg. Her last novel to appear in English was Happy Are the Happy, published by Other Press in 2015. She lives in Paris.
A longtime fiction editor at the New Yorker magazine, Linda Asher has translated Victor Hugo, Balzac, Simenon, Kundera, and many other writers. She has been awarded the Scott Moncrieff, the Deems Taylor, and the French-American/Florence Gould translation prizes, and is a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic.
“For me Babylon represents . . . that lost world, all that we could have lived, all that humanity that is behind us.”—Yasmina Reza
“Starting always with real, concrete things, written in a style as clean and precise as an assassin’s, and with a ravishing elegance, Reza draws us into her sarcastic digressions. She skewers our empty presumptions, and manipulates the paradoxes with an irresistible instinct for the dialectic. There is pain here, tears of great loss and abandonment. . . . And, throughout, a sense of exile—from self, from others. . . . Reza manages to express our most deeply hidden secrets, our subterranean feelings of anguish, the ones we are least able to share with others.”—Telerama (five-star review)
“For Reza truth is often to be found in the dark dance of the tragic and the absurd which fires all her writing. . . . Babylon [tells] the story of how the comfortable ordered lives of two middle-aged couples in the suburbs of Paris unravel over the course of an evening. But it is also a touching study of people living in exile from themselves. Everyone . . . has been cut adrift from their youth and their dreams.”—The Times of Israel