Wise, precise, generous, To Leave with the Reindeer takes a clear-eyed look at the dilemmas of domestication, both human and animal, and the price we might pay to break free.
Sophie Lewis translates from French and Portuguese.She has translated works by Stendhal, Verne, Marcel AymÃ©, Violette Leduc, Emmanuelle Pagano, Jean-Luc Raharimanana, Sheyla Smanioto and JoÃ£o Gilberto Noll, among others.
"This polyphonic novel portrays a merciless war waged by humanity on wild nature. This is the battleground where the author tears to pieces today’s education, imposed behaviours and conventions." Elle (France) "'Tigon, leopon, pumapard, jaglion, tiguar, jagulep, leoger, tigoness, lipard, jagress . . .' Olivia Rosenthal’s book is like the chimerical animals she lists on the first page. It is a hybrid, a strange and disconcerting cross; a sphinx of a book: half-human, half-beast." Les Inrockuptibles "In To Leave with the Reindeer, Olivia Rosenthal recounts the painful metamorphosis of an obedient animal into a liberated woman . . . There’s no complacency in this intense work; it is moving in its precision and in the perfect match between voice and subject." Canard EnchaÃ®nÃ© "Apparently lurching, disparate, this novel about domestication in fact coheres, born by a strong rhythmic sensibility and by subtle play on repetition. Poetic and humorous, To Leave with the Reindeer explores our illusions, the destruction of our childhood dreams and the savagery that we hide deep within ourselves." TÃ©lÃ©rama "Olivia Rosenthal subtly layers short paragraphs, swinging between the daily life of her homo sapiens and clinical statements about animal life. […] This is a novel that will haunts its reader for days. And that will, above all, awake the animal in us." L’Express "Brilliant, exciting, and never moralizing." Vogue (France) "Book after book, Rosenthal has takencare to dress her iconoclasm in a unique approach made up of stylistic accumulations and shrewd collages." Livres Hebdo "To Leave with the ReindeerÂ offers startling and frequently beautiful ruminations on the way the tension between wildness and domesticity affects both humans and beasts. By eschewing most of the qualities of a traditional novel, Rosenthal's book takes risks, which offer luminous moments." Kirkus Reviews
"Olivia Rosenthal captures the world of the child with inchoate wants and needs, inexplicable to others and herself, in vivid and concise vignettes, against a background of information and opinions about animals and how we treat them – for food, education and, then, to make ourselves feel better after destroying their habitats. This is rich, allusive and evocative." Lucy Dallas,The Times Literary Supplement
"Captivating and strange novel" Dundee University Review of the Arts
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