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Distributed for Seagull Books

Roissy

Disguised as a passenger, a homeless woman lives in Paris’s Roissy airport until she meets a man who makes her confront her past.

Every day the narrator of this gripping novel hurries from one terminal to another in Charles de Gaulle Roissy airport, Paris, pulling her suitcase behind her, talking to people she meets—but she never boards an airplane. She becomes an “unnoticeable,” a homeless woman disguised as a passenger, protected by her anonymity. When a man who comes to the airport every day to await the Rio-to-Paris flight—the same route on which a plane crashed into the sea a few years earlier—attempts to approach her, she flees, terrified. But eventually, she accepts his kindness and understands his loss, and she gives in to the grief they share, forming a bond with him that becomes more than friendship. A magnificent portrait of a woman who rediscovers herself through a chance connection, Roissy is a powerful, polyphonic book, a glimpse at the infinite capacity of the human spirit to be reborn.
 

192 pages | 6 x 9

The French List

Fiction


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Excerpt

At the Expressamente bar, an American is shouting into his cellphone that he has no intention of returning and that he is certainly not ready to . . . His voice fades away. He has tears in his eyes. I veer left toward the sixteen glass doors of the 2E Arrivals area. All the doors are covered with an opaque film. Up above, six screens display information for each flight. In the middle, a giant plasma TV screen is turned on to the LCI news channel 24/7: flooding in an Asian slum, two men, looking haggard, help a family get into a boat, eleven Egyptian police killed in an attack in Sinai, a cook suspected of eating a dog.
 
Yesterday, at the same time, there was the surprise victory of a tennis player whose name I didn’t hear: a woman had caught my attention. The doors had slid open, she started to run toward a young boy. They were in each other’s arms. For a long time . . . Without ever kissing, which led me to tell Vlad that it was perhaps her son. Vlad shook his head. He can’t understand how I can be interested in such things. They don’t belong to me. But then nothing belongs to us. An exhausted little girl woke up crying in her mother’s arms. A Brazilian couple took her photo. Maybe because of her smocked dress (those dresses, I said to myself, must not exist in Brazil). The couple eventually walked away, the last passengers on the flight following them.
 
That was yesterday.
 
Today, two women and a boy are holding up a sign: “Hooray for Gégé the Most Handsome!” There is also a grandfather with his grandson, a few chauffeurs with their signs, and then that man, in his fifties, a scarf around his neck, whom I’m sure i’ve seen before. But where? The doors open, the first passenger emerges. She must be around my age, walks forward, looks around for someone. She is tan, not smiling. He isn’t there. That’s what her eyes say. A group of businessmen jostle her, followed closely by a group of Polish tourists. The flight attendants go by. The tourists scatter.
 
“The shuttles for the capital, please?”
 
It’s the last passenger, a tall blond guy, twenty-eight, thirty, a Peruvian poncho, backpack covered with “Save the Planet” stickers. I point him in the direction of the VAL train shuttle. He walks off without taking the time to thank me. A pity, he looked like a nice person, and I would have liked to ask him a bunch of questions: what’s the weather like in Brazil? What about the airport there?
 
In the big waiting area, only he and I are left, the man with the scarf who is now staring at the ground. No one came to meet him, no one else will come. His hands grip the barrier railing, he can’t make himself leave. He stays there, not moving, suspending time. The slightest movement and the spell would be broken.
 
This makes him handsome. Handsome from the waiting that pulls his body toward the impossible.
 
 

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