By Anne Garréta
Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan
The newest novel by Prix Medicis-winner Anne Garréta, In Concrete is a feminist inversion of a domestic drama crossed with Oulipian nursery rhyme.
Publication Date: April 21, 2021
Garreta’s first novel in a decade follows the mania that descends upon a family when the father finds himself in possession of a concrete mixer. As he seeks to modernize every aspect of their lives, disaster strikes when the younger sibling is subsumed by concrete.
Through puns, wordplay, and dizzying verbal effect, Garreta reinvents the novel form and blurs the line between spoken and written language in an attempt to confront the elasticity of communication.
Recipient of the 2020 Hemingway Grant by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
"Through a unique writing style where spelling mistakes coexist with onomatopoeias and saucy allusions, the border between spoken and written language gradually ceases to exist." —The Cultural Services of the French Embassy
Praise for Sphinx:
One of Flavorwire’s Top 50 Independent Books of 2015
One of Entropy Magazine‘s Best Fiction Books of 2015
One of Bookriot's 100 Must-Read Books Translated From French
Sphinx is one of FSG editor Jackson Howard’s favorite books of 2018 on the FSG Work in Progress blog
“The set-up is such a classic, relatable tale of falling in — and out — of love that one wonders why gender has always been such a huge factor in how we discuss relationships, in fiction and otherwise. . . . So, the author, and the translator, created their own language, championing love and desire over power and difference.” —Huffington Post, Maddie Crum
“Garréta’s aim was to overthrow gender binaries carried by language, and in light of recent demands by transgender groups to use gender neutral pronouns, Sphinx seems curiously prescient.” — The Times Literary Supplement (TLS), Catherine Humble
“…Sphinx highlights the already limiting nature of language when it comes to matters of gender, and of love.” — The Atlantic, Stephanie Hayes
“The strength of [Sphinx] lies in its philosophical eloquence . . . Take away gender and race from the book, and what’s left? Love, viewed as a nihilistic transcendence . . . considerably more than a language game.” — London Review of Books, Adam Mars-Jones
Anne F. Garréta is the first member of the Oulipo to be born after the founding of the collective. A normalien (graduate of France’s prestigious École normale supérieure) and lecturer at the University of Rennes II since 1995, Anne F. Garréta was co-opted into the Oulipo in April 2000. She also teaches at Duke University as a Research Professor of Literature and Romance Studies. Her first novel, Sphinx, hailed by critics, tells a love story between two people without giving any indication of grammatical gender for the narrator or the narrator’s love interest, A***. She won France’s prestigious Prix Médicis in 2002, awarded each year to an author whose “fame does not yet match their talent” (she is the second Oulipian to win the award–Georges Perec won in 1978), for her book, Not One Day.
Emma Ramadan is a literary translator of poetry and prose from France, the Middle East, and North Africa. She is the recipient of a Fulbright, an NEA Translation Fellowship, a PEN/Heim grant, and the 2018 Albertine Prize. Her translations for Deep Vellum include Anne Garréta’s Sphinx and Not One Day, Fouad Laroui's The Curious Case of Dassoukine's Trousers, and Brice Matthieussent's Revenge of the Translator. She is based in Providence, RI, where she co-owns Riffraff bookstore and bar.