Published : 24 August 2015
N° ISBN : 978-2-36956-020-3
Mikaël Hirsch is a French writer born in Paris in 1973. Two of his novels were shortlisted for the Femina Prize (Le Réprouvé, L’Éditeur, 2010 and Avec les hommes, Éditions Intervalles, 2013). After Notre-Dame des Vents (2014), Libertalia Mikaël Hirsch’s third novel for Éditions Intervalles.
After the collapse of the Second Empire and the crushing of the Paris Commune (1870), two young men leave Alsace in order to remain French. They meet on the road of hope. Willing to break free from the conventions of the time, they take inspiration in the glorious memory of some pirates, dreaming of a promised land Libertalia, while facing the harsh realities of the French 3rd Republic.
Making their way in the Parisian high society they grab the headlines as they take part in many adventurous enterprises such as the building of the Statue of Liberty in Bartholdi’s workshop in the Batignolles neighbourhood, the 1889 Exposition Universelle, the construction of the Panama Canal or escapades to colonial Tunisia.
A journey through history, geography and the human soul, Libertalia explores the moment when the French Revolution truly ended and gave way to modern France.
“This short novel is remarkably dense. Mikaël Hirsch has succeeded in painting a portrait of France in the late XIXth century with all the necessary ingredients—the tragedy of Alsace returning to Germany, the fragile first steps of the iiie République, vindictive patriotism, colonialism, free-masonry, anticlericalism, bourgeois concern for appearances and respectability, capitalism reigning shamelessly supreme. The very sharp and original writing invigorates the sometimes ironical and critical narrative which, above all, comes out as a poetic text that leaves you filled with wonders.” L’Hebdo des Notes bibliographiques
“Libertalia is a very well documented novel playing with the era’s topical events. The myth of egalitarian society spread by a few is pitted against colonialism and French supremacy felt by most to be ‘normal’. The novel gives us a feel for that period when conquering territories let people believe in the myth of an ideal civilisation kept safe from everything. Those who love Paris will find great descriptions of the ebullient city in the XIXth century—a real treat!” Bibliolingus
“I could talk about this novel for hours… A must-read author.” Yves Mabon