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Notes from France: French readers are turning to writers of mixed heritage

Author: Angelique Chrisafis
Newspaper: The Guardian
Date: Nov 23 2019

(...) Meanwhile, Mahir Guven’s masterpiece of a first novel, Grand frère, has just been published as Older Brother in the US. It is a meticulously plotted, funny and tragic story of an Uber driver in a Paris banlieue whose younger brother, a talented theatre nurse at a city hospital, has disappeared, and is feared to have gone to Syria to treat injured civilians. With its touching descriptions of an immigrant father’s relationship to his sons, it was praised in France for its insight into the lives of modern chauffeurs “taking direction from a phone”. But it is the huge scope of the French slang that Guven uses to weave a story that flits between life on a French housing estate to war in Syria, that sets him apart. Born in France to Turkish and Kurdish parents, he said he was sick of cliched depictions of young men in the Paris suburbs and set out to tell the truth. (...)