Four Soldiers | Granta
  • Published: 06/06/2019
  • ISBN: 9781846276514
  • 129x20mm
  • 160 pages

Four Soldiers

Hubert Mingarelli

Translated by Sam Taylor

LONGLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2019

‘I am astonished by Four Soldiers. I have never read anything like it, yet it is one of those books you feel must always have existed, a classic of writing about the human condition… A small miracle’ Hilary Mantel

1919. The Russian Civil War. It is the harsh dead of winter, as four soldiers set up camp in a forest somewhere near the Romanian front line. There is a lull in the fighting, so their days are filled with precious hours of freedom, enjoying the tranquillity of a nearby pond and trying to forget their terrifying nightmares, all the while talking, smoking and waiting. Waiting for spring to come, waiting for their battalion to move on, waiting for the inevitable resumption of violence. Tightly focused and simply told, this is a story of friendship and the fragments of happiness that can illuminate the darkness of war.

The French writer Hubert Mingarelli [...] is a master of lyrical restraint... Mingarelli can count himself lucky in having Sm Taylor as his translator in English... Taylor has once again brought to an English-speaking readership a troubling and compelling tale of memory and fragility from a matchless stylist

Michael Crown, Irish Times

I am astonished by Four Soldiers. I have never read anything like it, yet it is one of those books you feel must always have existed, a classic of writing about the human condition. Short and deceptively simple, it reads like a message from the unheard, news from unwitnessed lives, building letter by letter to its crushing final page. A small miracle of a book, perfectly imagined and perfectly achieved

Hilary Mantel

Extraordinary... [Mingarelli] has crafted a moving work...The novel has an elemental quality that is entirely right for the pitilessness of war

David Mills, Sunday Times

The Author

HUBERT MINGARELLI is the author of numerous acclaimed novels, short story collections and fiction for young adults. His first novel to be translated into English, A Meal in Winter, was shortlisted for the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Four Soldiers won the Prix Medicis on publication in France and the English translation was shortlisted for the Man Booker International 2019. His last novel, The Invisible Land, was shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt. He died in 2020.

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The Translator

Sam Taylor is a translator, novelist and journalist. His translations include the award-winning French novel, HHhH by Laurent Binet. His novels have reached an international audience: The Republic of Trees (Faber, 2005) was translated into Italian, German, Korean and Hungarian and was turned into the film All Good Children (2010); The Island at the End of the World (2009) was translated into French and Turkish and a film is in development. He has written for many newspapers and magazine,s including The Guardian, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Vogue and Esquire, and also worked for 10 years as an editor and sub-editor at The Observer.

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