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Down with the Poor!

Down with the Poor!

9781838490461
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Over the course of a night in police custody, a young woman tries to understand the rage that led her to assault a refugee on the Paris metro. She too is a foreigner, now earning a living as an interpreter for asylum seekers in the outskirts of the city. Translating the stories of men and women who come from her country of birth, into the language of her country of citizenship, Sinha’s narrator finds herself caught up in a tangle of lies and truths, propaganda and lived experience, laying bare prejudices on all sides. Down with the Poor! which borrows its title from a poem by Baudelaire peers into a harsh reality and reveals with an acerbic sense of humour the dislocated responses to poverty and desperation. Sinha’s queasy view of European asylum systems offers a deeply emotional account and morally complex critique of the bureaucracies and mindsets upholding the status quo. This is the story of a woman who, little by little, is contaminated by the violence of the world. Winner of the Prix Valery Larbaud and the Prix Populiste in France and the International Literature Prize of Berlin's House of World Cultures in Germany. An indictment of European asylum systems is ever more relevant in face of the governments Nationality and Borders Bill, and its intention to ‘differentiate’ between refugees, the far right demonstrated by this year's French presidential election campaign, and the UK government proposal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. 10,500 copies sold in France, 20,000 copies sold in Germany and published in the USA by Deep Vellum Translated into German, Arabic, Italian and Hungarian, and adapted for stage in Germany and Austria. For fans and readers of: Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck,; Silence Is My Mother Tongue by Sulaiman Addonia (fiction) and Asylum and Exile: The Hidden Voices of London by Bidisha, The Good Immigrant ed. Nikesh Shukla,  No Friend but the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani (Non-Fiction) 'Sinha lays bare so much of the nuance and violence imposed on individuals by the systems in the world meant to keep certain people down, how immigrants distance themselves or alienate themselves from others who represent their former selves, who seem to pose a threat to what they have made of themselves in their new home and life.’ – Emma Ramadan, translator of Me & Other Writing by Marguerite Duras ‘Down with the Poor! is a novel as singular in its subject matter as in its language and unbridled energy…. Through the poetic force of her writing, Sinha brings a broken world to burning point.’  - Marc Weitzmann, Le Monde ‘A harsh lucidity, often misunderstood by those who, like Sinha, come from far away, looking for a better world. She is similar yet different. And that is the heart of the question - the knot, which she is trying to untangle, of her belonging and her rejection. It is both fascinating and gratifying.’ - Marie Etienne, Quinzaine littéraire ‘The accuracy and power of her innovations in vocabulary and metaphor are striking. There is Kafka and Duras in these pages. But also Pascal Quignard whose reflection on the Greeks’ fundamental freedom to go wherever one wants is emphasised at the start. This freedom, in the material and spiritual sense of the word, is perhaps the main theme of this beautiful novel.Sinha turned it into the be-all end-all of her writing, scattered with a poetic vitality that is both dazzling and original.’ - Tirthankar Chanda, Radio France Internationale ‘A striking book, infinitely harsh on exile, on society and its mirrors, its wounded memory. The author describes the nightmare of aimless wandering and the pain of being reduced to a bureaucratic checklist.’ - Christine Ferniot, Télérama ‘Shumona Sinha’s singular voice takes us into the nauseating world of bureaucracy, without heroes or pure-hearted victims. She does not condemn anyone, or perhaps she condemns everyone. Welcome to the real world.’ - Grazia ‘Indian poet Shumona Sinha has transformed Baudelaire’s poetic provocation into a strange and blazing reflection on violence.’ - Olivier Maison, Marianne