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The 2021 Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize is now open for submissions via Submittable through August 31, 2021.

The Last Brother

A Novel
Nathacha Appanah; Translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan
As 1944 comes to a close, nine-year-old Raj is unaware of the war devastating the rest of the world. He lives in Mauritius, a remote island in the Indian Ocean, where survival is a daily struggle for his family. When a brutal beating lands Raj in the hospital of the prison camp where his father is a guard, he meets a mysterious boy his own age. David is a refugee, one of a group of Jewish exiles whose harrowing journey took them from Nazioccupied Europe to Palestine, where they were refused entry and sent on to indefinite detainment in Mauritius.

A massive storm on the island leads to a breach of security at the camp, and David escapes, with Raj’s help. After a few days spent hiding from Raj’s cruel father, the two young boys flee into the forest. Danger, hunger, and malaria turn what at first seems like an adventure to Raj into an increasingly desperate mission.

This unforgettable and deeply moving novel sheds light on a fascinating and unexplored corner of World War II history, and establishes Nathacha Appanah as a significant international voice.

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“A disturbing and extraordinarily sensitive story around the tragic odyssey of Jewish refugees.”—Le Monde (Paris)

About the Author

Nathacha  Appanah
Credit: F. Mantovani/Gallimard
Nathacha Appanah was born in Mahébourg, Mauritius. She is the author of Waiting for Tomorrow and the award-winning novel The Last Brother, which has been translated into sixteen languages. She works as a journalist and translator and lives in France.
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Geoffrey Strachan was awarded the Scott Moncrieff Prize for his translation of Le testament français (Dreams of My Russian Summers) in 1998. He has translated all of Andreï Makine's novels for publication in Britain and the United States.
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  • The Last Brother has been rhapsodically translated by Geoffrey Strachan. . . . [A] brief, tender story.”—The Wall Street Journal
  • “Appanah’s descriptions are meticulous, and the heartbreakingly endearing Raj makes for an unforgettable protagonist.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • The Last Brother is a wonder of concision and power. Appanah has created a memorable character that demonstrates the resilience of an individual in the face of the barbarism that we sometimes call history.”—Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Booksellers
  • “[A] lyrical and quietly moving work. . . . [Appanah] offers a lovely little gem of a meditation on how humans can love and, inexplicably, hate.”—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
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