Monsieur Linh and His Child
Monsieur Linh flees his war-torn country, all his family dead but with a child in his arms whom he must protect at all costs in a foreign land where he does not speak the language and does not understand its customs. Traumatised and bewildered, Monsieur Linh struggles with his new life until he meets Monsieur Bark. Though neither man speaks the other’s language, a poignant friendship develops out of mutual loneliness.
This is an extraordinary, powerful and moving novel of the refugee experience, not just from the viewpoint of those who become refugees but also exploring what is best, and worst, in the way in which refugees are welcomed and looked after in their destination countries. In a deceptively simple story, lucidly translated into English by Euan Cameron, Claudel examines the nature of friendship, the inhumanity of states and the manifestations of trauma with acute insight and economy of expression. Another outstanding novel by the winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010 for Brodeck’s Report. Highly recommended.