Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Translated by Linda Coverdale

With an afterword by Françoise Lefèvre

Hugo Horiot is in love with wheels and all that cranks or turns. He is obsessed with the otherworldly language of pipes—they run, he imagines from his family home to the center of the earth. He causes endless trouble at home and hates school. He muses: "I dream asleep, I dream awake"—but he dreams so hard he shuts out the world with reveries that are not just curious but dangerous and painful too. School is a prison he must escape, his teachers oppressors, and his classmates "a band of jolly torturers." This is the portrait of a boy who might happen to suffer from autism but who is also a beautiful rebel inspired to blaze a path through childhood to find an enduring sense of personal freedom.

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“Haunting, original, dazzling in its mixture of fancy and specificity, a welcome addition to memory and understanding. . .”

“An astonishing and riveting tale from the 'inside' of autism—brave, brutal, funny, triumphant, and terribly moving. As a doctor, I had no idea, and now I do. Required reading for anyone—parent, teacher, school-mate, healthcare worker—who knows a person with this syndrome.”

“Hugo Horiot refuses to allow his autistic behaviors to control his life. Instead, he uses them to put himself in a position of power, triumphantly emerging from his violent, isolated world . . . An important read . . .”

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Translator LINDA COVERDALE holds a Ph.D. in French Studies from Johns Hopkins University and has translated over seventy books. A Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, she has won the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the 2006 Scott Moncrieff Prize, and the French-American Foundation Translation Prize in both 1997 and 2008. She lives in Brooklyn.