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The Son of Man

The Son of Man

Jean-Baptiste Del Amo

  • awardWinner, Prix du Roman Fnac, France, 2021
  • awardShortlisted, Prix Femina, France, 2021
  • Translated by Frank Wynne

    In the soft morning light, a man, a woman, and a child drive to Les Roches, a dilapidated house, where the man grew up with his own ruthless father. After several years of absence, the man has reappeared in the life of his wife and their young son, intent on being a family again. While the mother watches the passing days with apprehension, the son discovers the enchantment of nature.

    As the father’s hold over them intensifies, the return to their previous life and home seems increasingly impossible. Haunted by his past and consumed with jealousy, the father slips into a kind of madness that only the son will be able to challenge.

    Written in flawless, cinematic prose, and brilliantly translated by Frank Wynne, The Son of Man is an exceptional novel of nature and wildness, and a blistering examination of how families fold together and break apart under duress.

    Jean-Baptiste Del Amo
    About the Author

    Jean-Baptiste Del Amo was born in 1981 and is one of France’s most exciting writers. Animalia, his fourth novel, published by Text in 2019, won the Prix du Livre Inter 2017 and the 2020 Republic of Consciousness Prize, and was shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt, Prix Femina, Prix Medicis and Prix Wepler. The Son of Man, published by Gallimard in...

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    About the Translator

    Frank Wynne has translated works by authors including Michel Houellebecq, Patrick Modiano, Virginie Despentes and Mathias Enard. His work has earned many awards, including the IMPAC Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Premio Valle Inclán and the International Dublin Literary Award.

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    Text publication date:
    4 June 2024
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    Praise for Jean-Baptiste Del Amo
    andThe Son of Man

    ‘Del Amo gives a soul to this drama. We oscillate constantly between nature writing, a fable and a psychological novel.’

    ‘The simple plot becomes as complex as the psychology of these human beasts…Rarely has this young author hit the right notes so perfectly.’

    ‘Many magnificent scenes—brief moments of light amidst the darkness and a fear so intense you could cut it with a knife.’

    The Son of Man is an explosion, a shout. Jean-Baptiste Del Amo is a storming talent; here are words which are forged rather than written, smeared with blood.’

    The Son of Man is an astonishing book. Beautifully written, devastating at times, and relentless, but unforgettable.’

    The Son of Man demands a fearless kind of reading. It combines the impassive eye of a naturalist regarding their object of study, with the fierce revolt of that which is scrutinized, and resists being catalogued and known. Del Amo reaches into atavistic territories of impulse, desire, violence and repetition, and refuses to domesticate through conclusion. I was mesmerized by this formidable tale of a son and a mother who come up against both the law of the father and the lawlessness of nature.’

    ‘An exquisite and mesmerizing novel, in which violence constantly threatens to break the surface. The precision and detail of the prose imprints on the mind like a photograph.’

    The Son of Man is a complete vision: a parable as palpable as the flesh Del Amo renders in painstaking detail. Dread and horror and beauty all at once—this book defies categorization. I loved every carefully crafted sentence, even as I feared what the next page would bring.’

    ‘A novel of mounting tension, of violence handed down through generations of men like a terrible heirloom. Jean-Baptiste Del Amo is a master of horrific landscapes, landscapes which are rendered horrific by and through the humans who live in them. I would follow him into any deep, dark forest.’

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