Leila Slimani releases new book, In The Country of Others
In her first new novel since The Perfect Nanny launched her onto the world stage, Leila Slimani draws on her own family’s inspiring story for the first volume in a planned trilogy about race, resilience, and women’s empowerment.
In the Country of Others(Penguin Books; On Sale: August 10, 2021; Hardcover) is the story of a woman in an interracial marriage whose fierce desire for autonomy parallels her adopted country’s fight for independence.
Mathilde, a spirited young Frenchwoman, falls in love with Amine, a handsome Moroccan soldier in the French army during World War II. After the war, the couple settles in Morocco. While Amine tries to cultivate his family farm’s rocky terrain, Mathilde feels her vitality sapped by the isolation, the harsh climate, the lack of money, and the mistrust she inspires as a foreigner.
Left increasingly alone to raise her two children in a world whose rules she does not understand, and with her daughter taunted at school by rich French girls for her secondhand clothes and unruly hair, Mathilde goes from being reduced to a farmer’s wife to defying the country’s chauvinism and repressive social codes by offering medical services to the rural population.
As tensions mount between the Moroccans and the French colonists, Amine finds himself caught in the crossfire: in solidarity with his Moroccan workers yet also a landowner, despised by the French yet married to a Frenchwoman, and proud of his wife’s resolve but ashamed by her refusal to be subjugated. All of them live in the country of others–especially the women, forced to live in the land of men–and with this novel, Leila Slimani issues the first salvo in their emancipation.
A #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER, with rights sold in more than 30 languages, IN THE COUNTRY OF OTHERS is also the winner of the Grand Prix de l’Héroïne Madame Figaro, awarded by France’s oldest national daily newspaper to the best novel featuring a female protagonist. The Perfect Nanny was a critical hit that marked Slimani as a writer to watch, named A New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and acclaimed for its “devastatingly perceptive character studies” (The New York Times Book Review).
This novel is for fans of family novels set against political strife like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun; immigrant stories like Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire; interracial love stories like Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake; and fiction about strong women like Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels and Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other. More info can also be found below. Thanks for considering coverage this August.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Leila Slimani is the bestselling author of The Perfect Nanny, one of The New York Times Book Review‘s 10 Best Books of the Year, and Adele, for which she won the La Mamounia Prize. A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, she spearheaded a campaign–for which she won the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom–to help Moroccan women speak out, as self-declared outlaws, against their country’s “unfair and obsolete laws.” She is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture and was ranked #2 on Vanity Fair France’s annual list of The Fifty Most Influential French People in the World. Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she now lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children.
Acclaim from abroad for IN THE COUNTRY OF OTHERS:
“The world of this novel–Morocco after World War II, leading up to the revolt against French colonialism–is beautifully created. Personal life, social life, everyday life spring vividly from the page, and we feel deeply for the family caught in the middle of the conflict of history. An exceptional, powerful novel from this justly celebrated writer.” —Salman Rushdie
“A powerful family saga.” —Le Parisien
“Captivating and often very moving.” –-Elle (France)
“Who better than Slimani to write a great contemporary novel from the perspective of both sides of the Mediterranean, a double heritage, that of the horrors of colonization and that of the pains of decolonization?” –-Vanity Fair (France)
“A magnificent novel.” –-La Presse
“Written with breadth and a great power of evocation.” –-Libération
“A magnificent portrait of a woman . . . The writing is light, playful, funny. . . . Superb.” –-Atlantico
“A great family saga.” –-L’Obs
“A virtuoso story . . . The great decolonization novel we expected . . . Sensual, radiant, violent . . . [It] captivates us, makes us feel, touch, experience what a people, what a family could feel. The author shows a new mastery.” –-Les Inrockuptibles
“Fascinating . . . Slimani is like a filmmaker who knows how to place her camera to capture emotions close-up and action with wide angles.” —Jeune Afrique
“Fluid and fiery . . . Rich in humanity . . . [A] fascinating family saga . . . From the first words, we are swept up in an atmosphere where all the emotions seem palpable. . . . Slimani is a wonderful storyteller.” —Profession Spectacle
“Very inspired . . . [A] great fresco that mixes intimate tragedies and historical upheavals . . . Slimani is not done surprising us.” —France Info