For A Long Time, Afraid of The Night
Yasmine de Ghata
Marjolijn de Jager
Schaffner Press Inc
In the middle of the night in early April, 1994, Arsène, an eight-year old Rwandan boy, flees his village as shouts and gunshots draw near. Carrying only a battered suitcase of his father's, hastily packed with a few essential items by his grandmother—who along with the rest of his family and the entire village will be massacred that night—he runs into the wilderness and wanders alone and afraid through unspeakable horrors. Some years later, his story and that of a young writing teacher, Suzanne, converge. As a teenager adopted by a Parisian couple and enrolled in a private school, Arsène is prompted by her assignment to bring in a cherished family object, for which he chooses the battered family suitcase, and his story unfolds—first in painful increments and then in a flood of confession he can only reveal by dictation. Suzanne in turn is reeling from the death of her father and the loss of her own childhood home. The two find a deep, emotional connection that transcends race, history, and geography.
YASMINE GHATA was born in Paris in 1975, and is the author of three previous novels, the most famous of which is The Night of the Calligraphers (2004), based on the life of her paternal grandmother, that became a bestseller in France and was translated in 13 languages. She has received the Prince Pierre of Monaco Discovery Award, the Granzon Cavour Prize in Italy, and the Lebanese Kadmos Prize. Ms. Ghata is the daughter of the renowned Turkish-Lebanese poet, Vénus Khoury-Ghata. For a Long Time, Afraid of the Night was shortlisted for the Prix Patrimoines in 2016. MARJOLIJN DE JAGER was born in Indonesia (1936), raised in The Netherlands, and residing in the USA since the age of 22, Marjolijn de Jager earned a PhD. in Romance Languages and Literatures from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1975. She translates from both the Dutch and the French. Francophone African literature, the women's voices in particular, have a special place in her heart. Among her honors are an NEA grant, two NEH grants and, in 2011, the annually awarded ALA Distinguished Member Award received from the African Literature Association for scholarship, teaching, and translations of African Literature. For further information please see http://mdejager.com