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Seven Stories Press, Summer 2016

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    9781609806927 Electronic book text, EPUB
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    Distributor: Penguin Random House Availability: Available On Sale Date: Aug 09, 2016 Carton Quantity: 24
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The Little Communist Who Never Smiled
By (author): Lola LaFon Translated by: Nick Caistor
9781609806910 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Biographical Aug 09, 2016
$24.95 CAD
Active 5.8 x 8.3 x 0.7 in 320 pages Seven Stories Press
An award-winning novel powerfully re-imagines a childhood in the spotlight of history, politics, and destiny. Montreal 1976. A fourteen-year-old girl steps out onto the floor of the Montreal Forum and into history. Twenty seconds on uneven bars is all it takes for Nadia Comaneci, the slight, unsmiling child from Communist Romania, to etch herself into the collective memory. The electronic scoreboard, astonishing spectators with what has happened, shows 1.0. The judges have awarded an unprecedented perfect ten, the first in Olympic gymnastics, though the scoreboard is unable to register anything higher than 9.9. In The Little Communist Who Never Smiled, Lola Lafon tells the story of Comaneci's journey from growing up in rural Romania to her eventual defection to the United States in 1989. Adored by young girls in the west and appropriated as a political emblem by the Ceausescu regime, Comaneci's life was scrutinized wherever she went. Lafon's fictionalized account shows how a single athletic event mesmerizes the world and reverberates across nations.

LOLA LAFON is a bestselling Paris-based novelist and musician. The author of three previous novels, Lafon was born in France and grew up in Sofia and Bucharest. The original French edition of The Little Communist Who Never Smiled won ten prizes. She lives in Paris.

"One of my favorite novels of the year ... a metafictional biography tracing Comaneci's life from her relentless formation by Bela Karoli into the first gymnast to earn a perfect 10, at the ripe old age of fourteen, to her defection to the United States days before the Ceausescu regime collapsed, is a brilliant blend of fact, invention, and creative historiography. Lafon was raised by French parents in Ceausescu's Romania; her observations on the hypocrisies of both capitalism and Communism when it comes to sport, and to the lives of women, are sharp and unsparing. This is a fiercely feminist novel. It's compulsively readable, too, with descriptions of feats of physical daring to stop your heart." --Alexandra Schwartz, NewYorker.com

"In The Little Communist Who Never Smiled, French writer Lola Lafon considers a less common perspective – the female body as an ideological battleground. The result is enthralling – a thought-provoking, surprisingly touching story about a little girl who shook up the world." --The Big Issue (UK)

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