cover image Tomorrow They Won’t Dare to Murder Us

Tomorrow They Won’t Dare to Murder Us

Joseph Andras, trans. from the French by Simon Lesser. Verso, $18.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-78873-871-2

Romance and revolution intermingle in Andras’ Prix Goncourt–winning debut, which tells the story of Fernand Iveton, a real-life pied noir who was condemned for planting a bomb in support of Algerian independence. In the late 1950s, as cries against French rule reach a fever pitch, Fernand bungles an attempt to detonate a bomb (scheduled to go off after work hours so that no one will be killed in the blast) inside the factory where he works. Fernand is captured and tortured by the authorities. Meanwhile, his Polish wife, Hélène, eludes the gendarmes. A cause célèbre, Fernand’s case attracts a flashy lawyer determined to save him from the guillotine. Interspersed between scenes of Fernand’s trial, during which he appeals to the jury as a man of conviction, is the story of his and Hélène’s courtship and their introduction to radical politics in the personage of Henri Maillot, variously considered a patriot and a traitor. Andras achieves a clear-eyed recreation of postwar Communism and the armed battle against tyranny, shot through with intense prose and insight into the characters’ inner lives. The result brings an immediacy to a fraught chapter of history. (Feb.)