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Golden Hour Books

This Strange Eventful History: A Novel by Claire Messud (5/14/24)

This Strange Eventful History: A Novel by Claire Messud (5/14/24)

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An immersive, masterful story of a family born on the wrong side of history, from one of our finest contemporary novelists.

Over seven decades, from 1940 to 2010, the pieds-noirs Cassars live in an itinerant state—separated in the chaos of World War II, running from a complicated colonial homeland, and, after Algerian independence, without a homeland at all. This Strange Eventful History, told with historical sweep, is above all a family story: of patriarch Gaston and his wife Lucienne, whose myth of perfect love sustains them and stifles their children; of François and Denise, devoted siblings connected by their family’s strangeness; of François’s union with Barbara, a woman so culturally different they can barely comprehend one another; of Chloe, the result of that union, who believes that telling these buried stories will bring them all peace.

Inspired by stories of her own family’s history, Claire Messud animates her characters’ rich interior lives amidst the social and political upheaval of a recently vanished world. As profoundly intimate as it is expansive, This Strange Eventful History is “a tour de force . . . one of those rare novels which a reader doesn’t merely read but lives through with the characters” (Yiyun Li).

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