Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants by Mathias Enard - review by Frank Lawton

Frank Lawton

Bridge Too Far

Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants

By

Fitzcarraldo 137pp £10.99 order from our bookshop
 

What is perhaps most striking about Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants is its slightness. The latest work to appear in English by Mathias Enard – the heavily garlanded darling of French letters – is something of a departure from previous offerings. Whether it’s the monolithic heft of the 500-page, single-sentence Zone or the Prix Goncourt-winning Compass, we’ve become used to associating Enard with a broader publishing trend: the multipurpose literary novel that you can either read or use as a doorstop. Tell Them of Battles is an all-round thinner affair, and not merely because of its length.

Born in France, a resident of Barcelona, a scholar of Arabic and Persian, and the proprietor of a Lebanese restaurant, Mathias Enard explores in his writing the collusions and collisions between East and West. If we were to indulge in some metaphorical thinking, we might liken his oeuvre

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter