The Book of Nights marks the American debut of one of Europe’s most powerful and celebrated young writers. Winner of six literary prizes, The Book of Nights combines the timeless power of medieval legend, the resonance of Greek tragedy, and the harsh immediacy of a newsreel.
Sylvie Germain traces a century in the life of the Peniel family, and especially the life of Victor-Flandrin Peniel (nicknamed Night-of-gold-Wolf-face because of the hereditary gold fleck in the eye). It is Victor-Flandrin—larger than life yet fully human—who acts as focal point for the intertwined stories of the Peniels (including Victor’s four wives and fifteen children); of their lovers and enemies; and of the endless cycle of birth and death, triumph and loss, madness and passion, eroticism and holocaust—from the Franco-Prussian War to World War II—that envelops and buffets their lives. Blending the historical with the supernatural, the comic with the grotesque, the lyrical and the brutal, Sylvie Germain tells the story of humanity’s strivings and vanity, of the profound injustices that govern our relations, and of the fundamental strength that allows us ultimately to triumph over carnage and degradation. The Book of Nights is a “powerfully, deeply felt, imaginative” book (Times Literary Supplement) by a fresh and compelling new voice.