Translated by Ruth Diver
An intersex narrator coming of age in a libertarian commune sets the stage for this English-language debut, a story that reveals and subverts contemporary conceptions of normative sexuality, capitalist culture, and environmental degradation.
Farah moves into Liberty House—an arcadia, a community in harmony with nature—at the tender age of six, with her family. The commune’s spiritual leader, Arcady, preaches equality, non-violence, anti-speciesism, free love, and uninhibited desire for all, regardless of gender, age, looks, or ability. On her fifteenth birthday, Farah learns she is intersex, and begins to question the confines of gender, and the hypocritical principles those within and outside the confraternity live by. What, Farah asks, is a man or a woman? What is it to be part of a community? What is the endgame for a utopia that exists alongside refugees seeking shelter by the millions and in a society moving ever farther away from nature and its protections. As Liberty House devolves into a dystopia amidst charges of sexual abuse, it starts to look a lot like the larger world, confused in its fears and selfish hedonism.
Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam delivers a magisterial novel, a scathing critique of innocence in the contemporary world.
Winner, Prix du Livre Inter, 2019
Shortlisted for the Prix Femina, Prix Medicis, Prix de Flore
Longlisted for the Prix France-Culture, Prix Wepler