We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm

Lola Lafon

Translated by David and Nicole Ball


6 x 9 inches, 320pp. Septembr 2014

ISBN : 9780857421890

Rs  625.00 (HB)
$27.50 (HB)
£19.50 (HB)

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We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm is a wild novel that oscillates between fiction and reality. The story centers on two young women: Voltairine, a dancer who no longer dances but whose body is still haunted by the movement of dance, and her soulmate Emile, a young woman recovering from unexpected cardiac arrest. The girls are inseparable, and both their lives have been shattered by the horrors of rape.  The opening of the dreamlike novel sets a bleak stage as Voltairine watches Emile lying in a hospital bed, her temperature dropping to dangerous levels. Voltairine is filled with sorrow and faces the blunt reality that her soulmate is going to die, chronicling each minute in her diary. However, Emile ultimately survives the attack.


Later, at the cinémathèque, Voltairine and Emile meet a young girl whom they call “the little girl at the end of the lane,” who is obsessed by the Haymarket Affair of 1886. She’s an odd girl, obsessed with words, scribbling pages of notes throughout the movie screenings. She helps draw the pair out of their state of painful helplessness, and eventually the trio openly rebels against the newly elected oppressive regime of barbarian kings who rule their society. 


We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm explores repression, revolt, and madness, telling a story that is not only revolutionary but also cautionary—of three women who let their spirits fly like birds as the daunting storm ascends.


Lola Lafon is a French composer, singer and writer. Her books include Une Fièvre impossible à négocier (2003) and De ça je me console (2007). This is her third and latest novel. Her album . . . Grandir à l'envers de rien was released in 2006. 


Together or separately, David and Nicole Ball have published nine book-length translations from the French, including Abdourahman A. Waberi’s Passage of Tears (2011) for Seagull Books. Nicole is the translator of Maryse Condé’s Land of Many ColorsDavid of Darkness Moves: An Henri Michaux Anthology, 1927–1984, Alfred Jarry’s Ubu the King and poems by James Sacré and other poets. Both have translated stories in Haiti Noir and Paris Noir (Akashic Books.) Their most recent translations have appeared in Words Without Borders: The Online Magazine of International Literature. Both have retired from the faculty of Smith College and share their time between Northampton, Massachusetts, and Paris.

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