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Review : Heritage by Miguel Bonnefoy

We’re delighted to be sharing Laura’s thoughts for Heritage by Miguel Bonnefoy.

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Book cover for Heritage by Miguel Bonnefoy.  Owls and birds in a tree with a rabbit and vegetation on the ground
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Gallic Books (14 April 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1913547108
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1913547103
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 15 years and up

A winegrower ruined by the Great French Vine Blight takes his one surviving vine stock and boards a ship for California. But the new life he has in store is not the one he had imagined – taken ill aboard ship, he is forced to disembark at Valparaíso, where a misunderstanding at the customs post finds him rebaptized after his birthplace, Lons-le-Saunier: the Lonsonier family is born in Chile.

Making the journey in reverse, his sons return to defend the motherland in 1914, and the ghosts of the war live on across the Atlantic, in a house with three lemon trees and a garden filled with birds, for years to come.

From the depths of the trenches to the soaring peaks of the Andes and the shadow of dictatorship, the personal stories of the Lonsoniers collide with key moments in a century of global history, painting a vivid picture of what is both gained and lost through migration. This pocket-sized family saga confirms the rich imagination and storytelling talents of exciting young author Miguel Bonnefoy.

Book Review

I adore the front cover of this book, it’s colourful and dramatic.

Heritage is a beautifully written short story about family, migration and differences within cultures and families across four generations.

Due to crop failure a French family move to Chile in the late 1800’s. This family encompasses many different world events from two World Wars and the after effects of these.

My favourite character is Margot and I especially enjoyed her story of becoming a pilot. What an adventurous young lady.

A fascinating short story.

Laura's signature
Planner pages in the reading journal

Miguel Bonnefoy was born in France in 1986 to a Venezuelan mother and a Chilean father. In 2013, he was awarded the Prix du Jeune Ecrivain, which previously launched the careers of Marie Darrieussecq and others. Octavio’s Journey is Bonnefoy’s first novel, written in French. It has sold more than 25,000 copies in France and has been awarded the Prix Edmée de la Rochefoucauld (for debut novels – past winners include Goncourt winner Mathias Enard), the Prix Fénéon and the Prix de la Vocation, which rewards new talent (past winners include Amélie Nothomb and Joël Dicker). The book was also shortlisted for the Prix des Cinq Continents and the Goncourt First Novel Award.

Emily Boyce is a translator and editor. She was shortlisted for the French Book Office New Talent in Translation Award in 2008 and the French-American Translation Prize in 2016. She lives in London.

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