Eastbound by Maylis de Kerangal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Release of Paperback Edition: February 7, 2023
This novella is translated from French but set in Russia. The story is short and simple, yet evocative. It’s about the attempt of its two main characters to conduct very different plans of escape. Aliocha is a soldier who’s traveling by train to a remote assignment in the East when he decides to desert. Aliocha’s desertion plan ends up hinging on the assistance of a foreign woman, Hélène, a French woman who – as it happens – is fleeing a failed relationship. For whatever reason, but perhaps because she knows the intense need to break free, Hélène decides to shelter Aliocha in her cabin until he can make clean getaway.
This is a quick but intense read. The lack of common language between the two escapees makes for an austere telling, one that adds to the emotional tone of the story. I recommend it for readers of literature in translation.
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BOOK REVIEW: Eastbound Maylis de Kerangal