Theseus, His New Life: A Novel (Paperback)

Theseus, His New Life: A Novel By Camille de Toledo, Willard Wood (Translated by) Cover Image

Theseus, His New Life: A Novel (Paperback)

By Camille de Toledo, Willard Wood (Translated by)


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A mesmerizing, poetic autofiction about the quest to find meaning in family tragedies, and a sense of self after loss.

In 2012, Theseus heads east in search of a new life, fleeing the painful memories of his past: the suicide of his older brother, the death of his mother, shortly followed by the death of his father. He takes three boxes of archives, leaving everything in disarray, and boards the last night train with his children. He thinks he’s heading toward the light, toward a reinvention, but the past quickly catches up to him.
With a stunning mix of poetry and prose, Camille de Toledo beautifully captures the conflicting urges to look back at or away from our complex histories, made all the more poignant through the scattered contents of Theseus’s archives—black-and-white photos, fragments of handwritten notes.
Camille de Toledo was born in 1976 in Lyon, France. He is a writer and visual artist educated in Paris, London, and New York. He is the author of five novels as well as essays and plays. His writings are known for blending genres such as fable and memoir, and history and narrative. Theseus, His New Life is his first novel to be published in English.

Willard Wood grew up in France and has translated more than thirty works of fiction and nonfiction from the French. He has won the Lewis Galantière Award for Literary Translation and received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Translation. He lives in Norfolk, Connecticut.
Product Details ISBN: 9781635422108
ISBN-10: 1635422108
Publisher: Other Press
Publication Date: January 10th, 2023
Pages: 304
Language: English
“Lyrical…evocative…haunting.” —Publishers Weekly

“A work of great power and originality, an expression of affecting passion and restraint on the most vital matters, on life, love, and loss.” —Philippe Sands, author of The Ratline and East West Street

Theseus, His New Life is family history on a societal scale. We are not just characters on the bounded stage where our visible life plays out. Our part has been written by others, our masks have been painted by those who accumulate and confiscate. But the film is full of jump cuts, continuity errors, some of the dialogue is missing, and throughout this fine book Camille de Toledo examines the seams of his family history, which are also those of modern capitalism and its supposed human face. He does this firmly but gently, determined to free himself, through sensitivity, thought, and language, from the doubtful prose of profit.” —Éric Vuillard, Goncourt Prize–winning author of The Order of the Day

“I have been reading and admiring the work of Camille de Toledo for over a decade. He is unique for his fidelity to the history of Europe and the history of Jewishness—and all the problems of maintaining that double fidelity. His writing is playful, somber, lyrical, and exact. Theseus, His New Life continues this examination of history and identity, but this time with a painfully personal inflection. A family is a history, this is the book’s deep wisdom: but as well as being contaminated by the past it shows how we might disown our inheritance too.” —Adam Thirlwell, international bestselling author of Politics

“Camille de Toledo is one of the most interesting and original young authors writing in French today. In his latest book—his most personal and his most historical—he casts himself as a modern Theseus, trapped in a labyrinth that is at once the story of a family blighted by its own legends, and a reckoning with a body crippled by ailments that medical science proves incapable of identifying. Toledo provides a moving account of a journey through the maze of his family’s past.” —Ann Jefferson, author of Nathalie Sarraute: A Life Between

“A beautiful text with the weight of a myth and the sadness of a dirge.” —Le Monde

“[De Toledo] explores the familial labyrinth, pulling us in with enchanting, captivating, harrowing prose.” —La Croix