The Mediterranean Wall

The Mediterranean Wall by By Louis-Philippe DalembertBy Louis-Philippe Dalembert
Translated from the French by Marjolijn de Jager
Published by Schaffner Press, Inc.: June 1, 2021
Three women — from Nigeria, Eritrea, and Syria — bond in their struggle to escape Europe, leaving their former lives behind.

The Mediterranean Wall Wins 2020 French Voices Grand Prize

Organizers commented: “Dalembert (The Other Side of the Sea) has provided a Tolstoyan narrative of the contemporary immigrants’ exodus from war, famine, poverty, criminality and injustice to a better life across the Mediterranean Sea. Following in intimate detail the lives of three women from disparate religions and cultures, and nations – Nigeria, Eritrea, and Syria – Dalembert compassionately depicts these three women and the bond they form together in their mutual struggle to escape to Europe via an overcrowded, dilapidated boat across the sea, the metaphorical wall between their former lives and the future. Certain to appeal to readers of literature of migration and such recent fiction as Behold the Dreamers and The Lost Children Archive.”

French Voices Grand Prizes, sponsored by the Cultural Services division of the French Embassy in the U.S., recognizes “the quality of both the original work and the translation” and epitomizes “the many facets of a vibrant French literary scene.”  The annual Grand Prize winners — one each for fiction and non-fiction — receive $10,000, shared by publisher (60%) and translator (40%).

In The Mediterranean Wall, Louis-Philippe Dalembert tells the stories of three different women who converge at one intense moment in time. Both narratively and thematically, this is an ambitious work, abounding with echoes of real-life horrors. The way it moves from bracing to harrowing and back again adds to the sense of empathy for its central trio.”
“Over the years, there have been so many attempts to flee Africa and gain a new life in the countries of Europe. This is a well researched book about the true life experiences of many of these people and their troubles in attaining their dream. Nightmarish, brutal, and upsetting experiences make this journey a death march for many. Sometimes difficult to read, but ultimately a very well written account of this experience.”