"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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