On the Line by Joseph Ponthus, Stephanie Smee | Black Inc.

On the Line

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About the author

Joseph Ponthus

Joseph Ponthus (1978–2021) worked for over ten years as a social worker and special needs teacher in the suburbs of Paris. He was co-author of Nous … La Cité (The Suburbs Are Ours) and his masterpiece À la Ligne (On the Line) …

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On the Line
Stephanie Smee

Stephanie Smee left a career in law to work as a literary translator. Recent translations include Hannelore Cayre’s The Inheritors and The Godmother (winner of the CWA Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger award), and Françoise Frenkel’s …

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Praise for On the Line

‘From the uniformity and repetition of the production line, Joseph Ponthus finds humour, grace and humanity. A unique and deeply affecting novel.’ —Ryan O’Neill

‘Poetic and political, lyrical and realistic, Joseph Ponthus’ spirited elegy is at once surprising, captivating and affecting.’ —Télérama

‘A work that is powerful, clever, benevolent, optimistic even. Essential reading.’ —Causette

‘A hard-hitting work, flabbergasting, unprecedented, written entirely in unbridled verse, a sort of Victor Hugo–like fable of the ages depicting the present day.’ —Siné Mensuel

On the Line is not just an extraordinary debut novel, it is also a hard-hitting work that is, dare I say it, essential.’ —L’Express

‘A literary tour de force.’ —Bretons

‘The magnificence of this novel derives in part from the marriage of form and content, with the verse line evoking a literal manifestation of this experience. On the Line is marked by a heady admixture of brutality and tenderness, elevated throughout by Ponthus’s philosophical hunger and gratitude for common life.’ —Stephanie Bishop, The Monthly

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