Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2023
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Pub Date 26 May 2022 | Archive Date 25 Jul 2023
Quercus Books, MacLehose Press
"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 Côte 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-Élysées, 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 Côte 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