An impassioned meditation on the consequences of sexual exploitation and the dead ends of forgiveness
“A harrowing, painful story, draped in beautifully melancholy writing.”—Les Échos Week-End
“A beautiful, intense novel.”—Madame Figaro
13-year-old Cléo lives a drab existence with her parents in a suburb of Paris.
Her life changes when she is offered the chance to obtain a scholarship – issued by a mysterious Foundation - to realise her dream and become a modern jazz dancer. But there is more to the Foundation and their suave representative than meets the eye. Soon Cléo finds a trap has closed in on her, and she’s fallen prey to a sinister system in which she’ll eventually become complicit.
Over 30 years later, a cache of images surfaces on the internet and exposes the Foundation’s exploitative, hidden purposes. The police put out a call for witnesses, and Cléo, now with a successful career as a dancer behind her, comes to realise the past has come back to haunt her. As her sense of self diffracts into multiple, contrasting images, there’s no way out but to confront her double burden as victim and predator.
Praise for The Little Communist Who Never Smiled:
“A fiercely feminist novel... compulsively readable too.”—The New Yorker
“A thought-provoking, surprisingly touching story about a little girl who shook up the world.”—The Big Issue
A writer and a musician, Lola Lafon’s formative years were spent between Sofia, Bucharest, and Paris during the time of the cold war. Her six novels are characterized by their formal inventiveness. Her acclaimed novel Reeling, first published in France in 2020 by Actes Sud, is a fractured portrait of a young dancer, Cléo, whose life precipitates into silence following a chilling event. Lafon also serves as her characters’ spokeswoman, performing spoken word and musical shows.