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  • MacLehose Press

Standing Heavy


8 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A bitingly satirical novel about undocumented security guards in Paris: for fans of Sam Selvon and George Orwell.

"One of those rare, transformative novels" KARIM MISKE
"Funny and poignant" TIFFANY TSAO, author of The Majesties

Initially a little intrigued, all babies eventually return the security guard's smile.
The security guard adores babies. Perhaps because babies do not shoplift.
Babies adore the security guard. Perhaps because he does not drag babies to the sales.

The 1960s - Ferdinand arrives in Paris from Cote d'Ivoire, ready to take on the world and become a big somebody.
The 1990s - It is the Golden Age of immigration, and Ossiri and Kassoum navigate a Paris on the brink of momentous change.
The 2010s - In a Sephora on the Champs-Elysees, the all-seeing eyes of a security guard observes the habits of those who come to worship at this church to consumerism.

Amidst the political bickering of the inhabitants of the Residence for Students from Cote d'Ivoire and the ever-changing landscape of French immigration policy, Ferdinand, Ossiri and Kassoum, two generations of Ivoirians, attempt to make their way as undocumented workers, taking shifts as security at a flour mill.

Sharply satirical, political and poignant, Standing Heavy is a searingly witty deconstruction of colonial legacies and capitalist consumption, an unprecedented and unforgettable account of everything that passes under a security guard's gaze.

Translated from the French by Frank Wynne

"Inventive and very funny" Guardian
"A compact, humane satire" Financial Times

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Praise for Standing Heavy

  • Brutal, fierce and often awkward, this little book will feel like a body search

  • An alert, offbeat and indispensable book - La Nouvelle Vie Ouvriere

  • Under the guise of fun, the author shows the pathos of the buying fever in the West, mixing the madness of the sales with the history of Ivorians in Paris - Nouvel Observateur

  • What an eye! Gauz saw everything, observed everything, analysed everything during his experiences as a security guard. He takes a dive in time and into the territory of the Ivorians of Paris. The whole French immigration policy emerges through this book . . . Fresh and witty - L'Express

  • A powerful book - Huma

  • Full of hilarious observations - Le Figaro

  • A formidable keenness of observation and a sarcastic wit - La Croix

  • A tender and ironic look at our consumer society - Marie-France

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GauZ' is an Ivoirian author, journalist and screenwriter. After studying biochemistry, he moved to Paris as an undocumented student, working as a security guard before returning to the Cote d'Ivoire. His first novel, Standing Heavy, came out in 2014 and won the Prix des libraires Gibert Joseph, and was followed by Comrade Papa, which won the 2019 Prix Ethiophile, and Black Manoo. GauZ' is the editor-in-chief of the satirical economic newspaper News & co, and has written screenplays and documentary films.

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