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Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants

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About the Author

Mathias Enard is the author of Compass (winner of the Prix Goncourt, the Leipzig Prize, and the Premio von Rezzori, and shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize), Zone, and Street of Thieves. Charlotte Mandell has translated works by a number of important French authors, including Proust, Flaubert, Genet, Maupassant, and Blanchot.


"If all you have is a bridge, then everything begins to look like a chasm; the incessant drive to overcome all differences has, unsurprisingly, created more division. Enard's radical suggestion has been, instead, to think about who is being connected to whom, and what is being bypassed along the way." -- Art in America
"Enard packs a feast for the senses into this short book." -- Boyd Tonkin - Financial Times
"The story of Il Maestro's invitation from the sultan to design a bridge over the Golden Horn is beautifully wrought in its simplicity-credit must go to Charlotte Mandell's translation-with a perfectly paced narrative that reaches a dramatic denouement...Enard's taut prose carries the reader swiftly and satisfyingly through chapters (which are more like fragments, really) to the extent that one does not wish for the tale to end. " -- Irish Times
"Too interesting to pass up." -- Literary Hub
"Any year Mathias Enard brings us new work is always worth celebrating. He invites us to engage with subjects as intricate as beauty, history and art, and always finds some way to make it still feel vital, leaving you with a resounding sense of hope and generosity. While Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants may at times feel like reading the most beautiful poem as the world slowly degrades around you, it might also convince you that art is invincible. An important idea to hold on to, I think, as we wait for our political pantomimes to play out. Charlotte Mandell translates and the book is a miracle." -- Guy Gunaratne - New Statesman
"Enard weaves an imaginative and suspenseful tale of civilizations and personalities clashing, of love, of being an artist in a violent era." -- Juan Vidal - NPR
"A historical novel of exquisite beauty." -- Publishers Weekly
"Continues Enard's deep, humanistic explorations of the historical and ongoing connections between Europe and Asia, Islamdom and Christendom." -- The Millions
"Even as the tragedies of history are spoken, the listeners are asleep. And yet, Enard remains optimistic, his novels a powerful reminder that the possibility for connection remains." -- Isaac Zisman - The Millions
"There is a lush materiality to Enard's prose, thick and smooth, so that following the artist's expeditions through Ottoman opium dens feels nearly as immersive as being in them." -- The New York Times
"Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants (deftly translated, like Enard's three previous English releases, by Charlotte Mandell) is a tale of bastard genius that might have been, and a cautionary fable about the consequences of parochial timidity." -- Julian Lucas - The New Yorker
"In this charming little reverie of a book, inspiration springs from our unguarded confrontations with the unfamiliar." -- Sam Sacks - The Wall Street Journal
"Mathias Enard weaves tantalizing facts and fragments into the tapestry of a slender historical novel." -- World Literature Today
"All of Enard's books share the hope of transposing prose into the empyrean of pure sound, where words can never correspond to stable meanings. He's the composer of a discomposing age." -- Joshua Cohen - The New York Times Book Review
"Enard fuses recollection and scholarly digression into a swirling, hypnotic, stream-of-consciousness narration." -- Sam Sacks - The Wall Street Journal
"No one else writes like Mathias Enard." -- Francine Prose
"In his fiction, Enard is constructing an intricate, history-rich vision of a persistently misunderstood part of the world-mesmerizing." -- Jacob Silverman - The New Yorker

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