Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants

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Product Details

New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.3 X 0.6 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Mathias Énard is the author of Compass (winner of the Prix Goncourt, the Leipzig Prize, and the Premio von Rezzori, and shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize), Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants, Zone, and Street of Thieves.
Charlotte Mandell has translated works by a number of important French authors, including Proust, Flaubert, Genet, Maupassant, and Blanchot.


All of Énard's books share the hope of transposing prose into the empyrean of pure sound, where words can never correspond to stable meanings. He's the composer of a discomposing age.--Joshua Cohen
Énard fuses recollection and scholarly digression into a swirling, hypnotic, stream-of-consciousness narration.--Sam Sacks
No one else writes like Mathias Énard.--Francine Prose
In his fiction, Énard is constructing an intricate, history-rich vision of a persistently misunderstood part of the world--mesmerizing.--Jacob Silverman
Continues Énard's deep, humanistic explorations of the historical and ongoing connections between Europe and Asia, Islamdom and Christendom.-- (07/17/2018)
A historical novel of exquisite beauty.-- (09/17/2018)
Énard packs a feast for the senses into this short book.--Boyd Tonkin (11/09/2018)
Too interesting to pass up.-- (11/01/2018)
Énard weaves an imaginative and suspenseful tale of civilizations and personalities clashing, of love, of being an artist in a violent era.--Juan Vidal (12/02/2018)
In this charming little reverie of a book, inspiration springs from our unguarded confrontations with the unfamiliar.--Sam Sacks (11/30/2018)
Mathias Énard weaves tantalizing facts and fragments into the tapestry of a slender historical novel.
There is a lush materiality to Énard's prose, thick and smooth, so that following the artist's expeditions through Ottoman opium dens feels nearly as immersive as being in them.
Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants (deftly translated, like Énard's three previous English releases, by Charlotte Mandell) is a tale of bastard genius that might have been, and a cautionary fable about the consequences of parochial timidity.--Julian Lucas "When Michelangelo Went to Constantinople "
The story of Il Maestro's invitation from the sultan to design a bridge over the Golden Horn is beautifully wrought in its simplicity--credit must go to Charlotte Mandell's translation--with a perfectly paced narrative that reaches a dramatic denouement...Enard's taut prose carries the reader swiftly and satisfyingly through chapters (which are more like fragments, really) to the extent that one does not wish for the tale to end.
If all you have is a bridge, then everything begins to look like a chasm; the incessant drive to overcome all differences has, unsurprisingly, created more division. Énard's radical suggestion has been, instead, to think about who is being connected to whom, and what is being bypassed along the way.-- (01/22/2019)
Even as the tragedies of history are spoken, the listeners are asleep. And yet, Énard remains optimistic, his novels a powerful reminder that the possibility for connection remains.--Isaac Zisman