Savages: The Wedding
By Sabri Louatah
A gripping saga in four volumes-bringing together the ambition and scope of nineteenth-century literary epics and the pacing of a modern thriller.
A Saturday in May. Paris.
It's the eve of the French presidential elections - 'The Election of the Century' say the newspaper headlines - and Chaouch, the nation's first Arab candidate, has victory in his sights. It has been a long campaign, and with his wife Esther and daughter Jasmine by his side, he spends the remaining hours with close advisors in a hotel in Nimes. Much of the dinner table chatter revolves around Jasmine's boyfriend; Fouad Nerrouche, a well-known actor with the same Algerian origins as her father, who has just publicly endorsed Chaouch's candidacy. However shallow it may seem, it's difficult to ignore the influence of celebrity support in this complex and unpredictable race . . .
The same day. Saint-Etienne.
The Nerrouche family is frantically preparing for a grand wedding, and Fouad himself is there to help out. But younger cousin Krim - who has recently lost his job - is becoming increasingly agitated, and no one knows why. As the day goes on, it becomes clear that the cousin's problems go far deeper than unemployment. Krim has been stealing from a local gang leader and after being discovered, found himself indebted to his powerful cousin, Nazir - Fouad's brother. Nazir is a very shady figure, and is heavily involved in a dark underworld of crime. Together, their plans will cause Fouad's two very different worlds to meet in a way no one would have dared to imagine. Within a few hours, the threads start to unravel, and the collision between the destiny of a family and the hopes of a country becomes inevitable.
With the pacing of a thriller, Louatah melds the tense atmosphere of a family saga with the gripping suspense of a political drama into one breathtaking read.
SABRI LOUATAH was born in France and now lives in Philadelphia. In 2005, while riots were breaking out across France, he read Demons by Dostoyevsky, and was inspired to write this series. Savages: The Wedding is his first novel.
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- Publication date:
04 Jan 2018
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Louatah's exhilarating four-volume epic holds up a mirror to modern France. Funny, clever and brutal . . . he is a name to watch . . . addictive . . . We can hope that Savages isn't the last word he's got to say on France. — the Guardian
[It] gives us race, politics, culture and crime within a vast cast of interlinked characters living the kind of French-Arab lives we rarely read about. Immersive. — Sunday Times Crime Club
It's an absorbing set-up, not least because Louatah brilliantly conveys the anarchy and chaos of a wedding party in which both sets of families consider the other beneath them — Irish Times
Non-Francophone readers will have to endure the agony associated with waiting for the next season to arrive. — The Glasgow Herald
This is not the first time that the scenario of a French Arab president has been in a French-language novel - this was also the conceit of Michel Houellebecq's Submission . . . Savages is, however, a far superior book, having more in common with the complex and crafted plotting of The Sopranos or The Wire than the arch, sarcasm of Houellebecq's dystopia. [Louatah] promises no happy ending to the tensions that still plague France , but the book manages to thrill and entertain, while never losing the sharp political edge that also makes it important. — The Observer
Exhilarating, sharp-edged, and complex, this is a compelling hybrid of family saga and socio-political thriller. — the Guardian
Ferrante. Knausgaard. Louatah. Three literary series that are better than anything. — Grazia France
An exceptional political and social thiller. The energy and imagination behind The Savages are breathtaking. Like Zadie Smith, Sabri Louatah's ear is exceptional... — Liberation
A compelling and expansive socio-political thriller. The Savages is a refreshing, if bleak, corrective to the romanticized images of France. In its readability The Savages evokes the nineteenth-century feuilleton, but its pace is best described as "televisual," reflecting a tightly coiled American television series such as The Wire. Fans of the French Canal+/BBC collaboration Spiral will appreciate its blend of urban grit, cliffhangers and scrutiny of the French justice system. — The Times Literary Supplement
Immense, and immensely popular. — Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker