Join McSweeney's author and Claremont professor Leland de la Durantaye discussing his stunning debut novel Hannah Versus the Tree
with Kate Wolf from the Los Angeles Review of Books
"Unlike anything I have ever read —thriller, myth, dream, and poem combined ... Written in an immaculate, lyrically charged, uncannily autonomous prose, this lovely novel is at once a modern story about money and politics and sexual violence, and an ancient fable of grievance and justice.” —James Wood, staff writer and book critic, The New Yorker
A radical departure from contemporary storytelling, HANNAH VERSUS THE TREE enthralls the reader immediately and unfolds as an unerringly beautiful fable of lifelong love and a terrific act of vengeance. It presents nothing less than a new literary genre, the mythopoetic thriller.
Although drawing on ancient myths, it is the perfect book for anyone today raging against the regime, impacted by the #metoo movement, and for all those looking for an escape. It is an exquisitely rendered celebration of the art of revenge – in particular against forces which seem too powerful to ever face the consequences of their actions.
At the centre of the story is Hannah, a fiercely intelligent young women, and heiress to her powerful family’s fortune. A devastating wrong is done to her when she opposes a family business scheme and her response is a battle cry of astounding violence and beauty. HANNAH VERSUS THE TREE is a gripping fable for our times which burns brightly on every page. There is sex and drugs, punk rock and
anarchism, social media scandal and hacking. Rooted in the ancient, it nevertheless captures the wonder, strangeness, and fear of living in the early 21st century.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leland de la Durantaye is a critic, translator, and professor. He taught at the École Normale Supérieure and at Harvard for many years and now lives in Los Angeles, where he is a professor of comparative literature at the Claremont Colleges. His journalism and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, The London Review of Books, Bookforum, Artforum, The Believer, Cabinet, and others. He is also a translator from French and Italian; his translation of the Jacques Jouet novel UPSTAGED (2011) was a finalist for the PEN Best Translated Book of the Year. HANNAH VERSUS THE TREE is his first novel.