The Living Days
The Living Days
This novel of post-9/11 London is a masterful dissection of racism, aging, and the perturbing nature of desire.
Publication Date: 11-05-2019
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Translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman
A chance encounter on Portobello Road incites an unsettling, magnetic attraction between Mary, a seventy-five-year-old white British spinster, and Cub, a thirteen-year-old Jamaican boy from Brixton. Mary increasingly clings to phantoms as dementia overtakes her reality, latching on to Cub and channeling all of her remaining energy into their relationship. But their macabre romance comes to a horrific climax, as white supremacy, poverty, and class conflict explode on the streets of London.
Through exquisite juxtaposition, Ananda Devi uses lush prose to confront the tensions of an increasingly nationalistic metropolis, and the queasy nature of desire muddled with power.
“A gorgeously written, profoundly upsetting fairy tale of race, class, power, and desire.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Brutal and entirely believable, a gorgeous and haunting depiction of London and the real lives and memories of those unseen within it." —Publishers Weekly
“Devi maintains a careful balancing act to ensure that our protagonists provoke some degree of empathy and provide an engaging read.” —Asymptote
"A fierce portrait of our times. . . . Sensual and provocative writing, woven of dreams and nightmares, which slowly closes round the reader and holds them in its grasp." —Le Monde des Livres
"Old age always bears a private violence. Ananda Devi describes its inevitable symptoms whilst ever letting us glimpse an illusion of spring." —L’Humanité
“Jeffrey Zuckerman’s translation is perfect in its power and precision, a magnificent gem.” —Jennifer Croft, translator of Flights
"Beautifully written, visceral, and ecstatic. Unafraid, as angels might be, to bear witness to the force of entropy pulling us all toward death." —Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young
"The finest Mauritian novelist at work today, Ananda Devi has long been the francophone saint of the outcast, the oppressed, and the derelict. This fluid translation of one of her darkest works gives the reader a glimpse at her profound talent and her unique ability to synthesize political rage with poetic lyricism." —Adam Hocker, Albertine
Interested in reading this book with a group? Download group discussion questions for The Living Days here!