The multi-award-winning compact epic of passion, ambition and the American Dream.
Coca, Southern California. A small town on a wild river, at the margins of the red-rocked desert and the forest where the last of the state's Native Americans still make their home.
When Boa, the charismatic new mayor, decides to put Coca on the map, he plans a monumental new project: a six-lane bridge, two hundred metres high, designed and destined to catapult the city into the third millennium.
Workers from across the globe flock to California: to earn a living, to escape their pasts, to bear witness to man's mastery of nature. But the project's majestic scope has no regard for the legacy of this ancient land, and within this monochrome Babel festers a very human cocktail of fears and passions.
At once timeless and yet exquisitely of its moment, Maylis De Kerangal's multi-award-winning novel follows its broad cast of construction workers and architects, diggers and dreamers, as they navigate both the intricacies of their project and the depths of the human heart.
Translated from the French by Jessica Moore
One of the most original and exciting writers to have come from France in the last few years - Johnathan Coe
Moore's translation is elegant and sensitively attuned to the author's wordplay and neologisms - Kirkus Review
This delightful book's unabashed idealism, combined with those playfully literary proper names, marks it as a kind of aspirational fairy tale. - Wall Street Journal
A magnificent novel. Translated with unabashed exuberance... The book's themes are mythic; its prose, symphonic. - Vancouver Sun
Astonishing writing ... an original, laconic, astute and relentlessly topical morality tale that scores several direct hits - Irish Times
Maylis de Kerangal's extraordinary novel is her first book to be translated into English. Hopefully we will not have to wait long for more - Independent
Maylis de Kerangal spent her childhood in Le Havre, France. Her novel, Birth of a Bridge, was the winner of the Prix Franz Hessel and Prix Medicis in 2010. In 2014, her fifth novel, Mend the Living, was published to wide acclaim in France, winning the Grand Prix RTL-Lire award and the student choice novel of the year from France Culture and Telerama. In the UK, Mend the Living was longlisted for the Booker International Prize in 2016, and won the Wellcome Book Prize in 2017 - only the second novel and the first work in translation ever to do so.