Laurent Mauvignier’s novel The Wound (Nebraska, 2015) was translated into English by Nicole and David Ball in 2015 and will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival under its original French title, Des hommes. The film will feature distinguished actors Gérard Depardieu and Jean-Pierre Darroussin among its cast.
“Where is your wound?” asks Jean Genet in the lines Laurent Mauvignier uses as an epigraph to The Wound. By the time we have finished this four-part novel, we realize that for many the wound lies four decades back in “the Events” that people have tried to not talk about ever since: the Algerian War.
Chronicling the lives of two cousins—Bernard and Rabut—both in the present and at the time of the Algerian War of Independence in the 1960s, we get a full picture of the lasting effects this event had on the men who were involved. Through the fragments of their stories we see the whole history of the war: its atrocities, its horrors, and its hatreds. Mauvignier shows readers how the Algerian War, always present yet always repressed, has sickened the emotional and moral life of everyone it touched—and France itself, perhaps. The epigraph, like the novel, suggests that wounded men may even become the wound itself.
Laurent Mauvignier is the author of several novels in French and is the winner of four literary prizes, including the Prix Wepler. David and Nicole Ball, both independent translators in Northampton, Massachusetts, have published several translations separately as well as together, including Abdourahman A. Waberi’s In the United States of Africa (Nebraska, 2009).