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Book Cover for: Standing Heavy, Gauz'

Standing Heavy


Finalist:International Booker Prize -Novel (2023)

Winner of the 2023 Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize - Shortlisted for the 2023 International Booker Prize - One of The Walrus' Best Fall Books of 2023

A funny, fast-paced, and poignant take on Franco-African history, as told through the eyes of three African security guards in Paris.

All over the city, they are watching: Black men paid to stand guard, invisible among the wealthy flâneurs and yet the only ones who truly see. From Les Grands Moulins to a Sephora on the Champs-Élysées, Ferdinand, Ossiri, and Kassoum find their way as undocumented workers amidst political infighting and the ever-changing landscape of immigration policy. Fast-paced and funny, poignant and sharply satirical, Standing Heavy is a searing deconstruction of colonial legacies and capitalist consumption and an unforgettable account of everything that passes under the security guards' all-seeing eyes.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Biblioasis
  • Publish Date: Oct 3rd, 2023
  • Pages: 176
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 7.72in - 4.88in - 0.71in - 0.35lb
  • EAN: 9781771966009
  • Categories: LiteraryAfrican American & Black - GeneralSatire

About the Author

Gauz': - GauZ' is an author, journalist and screenwriter who grew up in Côte d'Ivoire. After studying biochemistry, he moved to Paris as an undocumented student, working as a security guard before returning to the Côte d'Ivoire. His first novel, Standing Heavy, came out in France in 2014 and won the Prix des libraires Gibert Joseph. It was followed by Camarade Papa, which won the 2019 Prix Éthiophile and the 2018 Grand prix littéraire d'Afrique noire, and Black Manoo. GauZ' is the editor-in-chief of the satirical economic newspaper News & co and has written screenplays and documentary films.
Wynne, Frank: - Frank Wynne is an award-winning writer and translator. His previous translations include works by Virginie Despentes, Javier Cercas, and Michel Houellebecq. His translation of Vernon Subutex I was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.

Praise for this book

Praise for Standing Heavy

"This shrewd, episodic novel stars the security guards of Paris ... undocumented Ivoirian immigrants whose watchful eyes examine Parisian turmoil over two generations."
--New York Times

"This book is about the anti-flâneurs: not the rich white men who roam the boulevards of Paris but poorly paid Black men whose jobs require them to stand still. As a security guard, the protagonist of Standing Heavy is invisible but sees everything. Told in a fragmentary style--as if from different camera angles--this is the story of colonialism and consumerism, of the specifics of power, and of the hope of the sixties diminishing as society turns cynical and corrupt."
--International Booker Prize Judges' citation

"A spry volume of 167 pages ... that manages to trade heavily in politics while also sneaking up on your sympathy. I won't spoil the end, but it startled me in its poignancy."
--The Walrus

"Tightly written and tautly structured, Standing Heavy has a considerable heft to it ... There have been countless novels written about class and immigration over the years, but what GauZ' has done here is truly singular."
--Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders

"Inventive and very funny."
--John Self, The Guardian

"This compact, humane satire, deftly translated by Frank Wynne, entertains as much as it informs."
--Lucy Popescu, Financial Times

"A cunning observer and a disenchanted protestor, Gauz' makes shopping an ethnological mine, a priceless sketch and a combat sport."

"An incisive ... meaningful document chronicling the humanity of undocumented workers."
--Kirkus Reviews

"This combines some of my favorite things, a solid one-sit-read, an elegant translation, and an author willing to play with form ... A book I felt satisfied after reading once and yet left me ready to dig in again."
--Publisher's Weekly

"Gauz casts a tender, yet lucid gaze on the African community. By devoting a book to the shadowy men of security, Gauz finally gives voice and life to those who, oddly enough, are invisible."
--Le Matricule des Anges

"A funny and poignant intergenerational tale of three Ivoirian men newly arrived in Paris. And a sharp social and political commentary, delivered via the sharp eyes of the black security guards that white Paris relies on to keep itself safe."
--Tiffany Tsao, author of The Majesties