Beyond the Door of No Return

(Author) (Translator)
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Product Details
$27.00  $25.11
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.8 X 7.4 X 1.4 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

David Diop is the author of At Night All Blood Is Black, which was awarded the International Booker Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. Born in Paris and raised in Senegal, he is a professor of literature at the University of Pau, where his research encompasses topics including eighteenth-century French literature and European representations of Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Sam Taylor is an award-winning literary translator and novelist. He has translated more than sixty books from the French, including Laurent Binet's HHhH and Leïla Slimani's The Perfect Nanny.

"Poignant . . . A hypnotic, powerful historical novel in which stories nest within one another like dolls . . . In a few vivid brush strokes, Diop [. . .] brings to life not only [Michel] Adanson, but also the ways in which his dreams, loves and losses shaped the lives of those around him. It all coheres mesmerizingly." --Clémence Michallon, The New York Times Book Review

"A mesmerizing tale of capture, getaway, and revenge. Diop's novel, which culminates in a terrifying sequence of events, is a testament to fiction's ability to uncover our self-deceptions, leaving them 'as if exposed to the African sun at its zenith.'" --The New Yorker

"[A] mesmerizingly layered work of historical fiction . . . Diop, with remarkable tonal and narrative deftness, evokes and complicates [his character's] cathartic hopes in a way that feels unexpectedly timeless." --The Atlantic

"Diop has brought his capacious mind to bear on an earlier period of encounter between Europe and Africa . . . It's hard to imagine a more gripping or fertile subject for Diop's fictional exploration . . . Romantically and dramatically is how he tells it here, with a delight in narrative that honors Senegalese oral culture . . . This is a novel with enough frame narratives to make the ghost of Joseph Conrad come and listen." --Alexandra Harris, The Guardian

"Diop masterfully teases out [Michel] Adanson's tale of youthful adventure and awakening . . . Diop has again exposed a neglected corner of the French colonial experience, expanding the country's literary conversation at a time of heated debate over national identity and culture. As Adanson reflects, 'Only fiction, the novel of a life, can give a genuine glimpse of its profound reality, its complexity; only fiction can illuminate its darkest corners.'" --Andy Tepper, Los Angeles Times

"Superbly translated . . . A compelling critique of colonial violence and the dehumanization of Black people." --Lucy Popescu, The Observer

"A compelling romantic adventure . . . [Diop's novel] can only be described as a feat of storytelling . . . Intricately layered, enfolding stories within stories, Beyond the Door of No Return is many things at once: mystery, autobiography, epistolary, romance, adventure, confession." --Sana Goyal, Financial Times

"[Beyond the Door of No Return] opens in particularly juicy fashion . . . [A novel] in the grand tradition of picaresque adventures . . . Reading about another country, another culture, another age has the brain-opening effect that Adanson experienced almost 300 years ago . . . There's nothing quite like this book out there." --John Self, The Times (London)

"A stunning and adventurous novel . . . [This book] shows how memory can be strange, beautiful, and introspective." --Tonika Reed, Vox

"Readers will immediately recognize David Diop's trademark talent for conjuring up images and bringing history and fiction together in this second book." --Sophie Joubert, France-Amérique

"Diop has turned fascinating historical records into fiction in Beyond the Door of No Return . . . Even 300 years later, Maram's touching story offers crucial lessons about unconscionable acts of slavery, perpetrated on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean." --Angela Ajayi, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"I read Beyond the Door of No Return with pleasure and admiration. David Diop has opened up a new way of thinking about the eighteenth century and its hideous cruelties." --Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of Afterlives

"Stunningly realized and written in exquisite prose, Beyond the Door of No Return is a love story, an adventure tale, and an unflinching examination of the unexpected ways that colonialism and greed ravaged everyone it touched, European and African. It is above all else, a spellbinding novel about the high price of betrayal--of others, and oneself." --Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King, shortlisted for the Booker Prize

"A mesmerizing tale . . . Less brutal than Diop's International Booker Prize-winning At Night All Blood is Black (2020) but no less powerful . . . With its sumptuous physical descriptions, shades of language, and smooth overlap of truth and invention, this is masterful storytelling. The ease with which the narratives (including Aglaé's) unfold belies the emotional force they gather." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A captivating intergenerational epic influenced by Senegalese oral tradition . . . Told as a series of fast-paced stories within stories, the novel contemplates race, hierarchy, religion, legends . . . Diop writes excellently of historical and regional minutiae, as in his descriptions of the sheer heat and exhaustion his characters face on their travels. This is a novel to devour quickly, but which will leave readers contemplating its story long after." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An engrossing work from a powerful and humane writer." --BookPage