"Life Sciences" by Joy Sorman, translated by Lara Vergnaud
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Featured on The Thread: For fall, 3 novels where great translations make all the difference
In 1999, the Mauritian musician Joseph Réginald Topize, better known as Kaya, was arrested for smoking weed while performing at a concert. Following his death in police custody just days later, the island nation surged with violence in a long-overdue demand for justice from the marginalized populations of the African island off the coast of Madagascar.
In Kaya Days, the spirit of the island and its many people―Hindu, Muslim, Chinese, Franco-Mauritian, and Creole―is distilled into a young woman’s daylong search through the uproar for her younger brother, who has gone missing. Amid burning cars and buildings, opportunists and revolutionaries, Santee rises into another world, a furious, brilliant one. An exhilarating journey into night from a small Hindu village to the big city, and from innocence into womanhood, Carl de Souza’s surreal English-language debut, artfully translated from French by Jeffrey Zuckerman, is an explosion of politics and poetry, a humid dream-world of revolutionary fervor where seemingly anything―everything―is possible.