FINALIST FOR THE 2023 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR TRANSLATED FICTION
‘A love story, an adventure tale, and an unflinching examination of the unexpected ways that colonialism and greed ravaged everyone it touched, European and African’ MAAZA MENGISTE, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of The Shadow King
‘Diop has opened a new way of thinking about the eighteenth century and its hideous cruelties’ ABDULRAZAK GURNAH, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
‘A compelling romantic adventure… Through an act of remembrance, Diop seeks to build a repository of lives and histories lost to the slave trade’ FINANCIAL TIMES
‘Diop explores the cruelties of colonialism in a powerful story of love destroyed’ SUNDAY TIMES, Historical Fiction Pick of the Month
The captivating new novel from David Diop, winner of the International Booker Prize
Paris, 1806. Michel Adanson is dying. The last word to escape his lips is a woman’s name: Maram. Who was she? Why, in the course of his long life, has he never spoken of her before?
As Adanson’s daughter sorts through his things, she discovers a notebook. It reveals a secret history both fantastical and terrible, of his time as a young botanist travelling in Senegal. How Adanson first heard of the ‘revenant’: a young woman of noble birth, abducted and sold into slavery across the seas, who then did the impossible-she came back, to live in hiding. How he became obsessed with finding her, embarking on an odyssey that would lead to danger and destruction. How a man who longed to solve the mysteries of nature instead found himself faced with the uncontrollable impulses of the human heart.
Tragic and tender, alive with feeling, this is a story of adventure, revenge and impossible desires, one which subverts our every expectation about who we are and who we love.