Traumatized by memories of his war-ravaged country, and with his son and daughter-in-law dead, Monsieur Linh travels to a foreign land to bring the child in his arms to safety. The other refugees in the detention centre are unsure how to help the old man; his caseworkers are compassionate, but overworked. Monsieur Linh struggles beneath the weight of his sorrow, and becomes increasingly bewildered and isolated in this unfamiliar, fast-moving town. And then he encounters Monsieur Bark. They do not speak each other's language, but Monsieur Bark is sympathetic to the foreigner's need to care for the child. Recently widowed and equally alone, he is eager to talk, and Monsieur Linh knows how to listen. The two men share their solitude, and find friendship in an unlikely dialogue between two very different cultures.
Monsieur Linh and His Child is a remarkable novel with an extraordinary twist, a subtle portrait of friendship and a dialogue between two cultures.
Philippe Claudel is a university lecturer, novelist, film director and scriptwriter. He has written 14 novels that have been translated into various languages. He was born in Dombasle-sur-Meurthe in 1962 where he still lives. In 2009 his film I've Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t'aime), which draws upon Claudel's eleven years teaching in prisons, won the BAFTA for Best Foreign Language film. Among his novels, Grey Souls won the Prix Renaudot in France, the American Gumshoe Award and the Swedish Martin Beck award. Brodeck's Report won the 2010 Independent Foreign Fiction Award.