Heritage: A Novel (Paperback)
In just 150 pages, the author manages to tell the multi-generational saga of the Lonsonier family, whose forebear emigrated to Chile from France in 1873, carrying a single grape cutting with which to start a vineyard. His son, Lazare, travels back to France to enlist in the army during World War I, survives the war, and returns to Chile to raise a family. Lazare’s daughter, Margot, becomes an aviatrix and raises a son who becomes a revolutionary during the Pinochet years. The author provides an amazing level of detail within the time frame of the novel, managing to convey the family relationships, the family's sense of where they belong in their adopted country, and their connections to France. It's a very complete saga, despite its length, and no word is wasted or superfluous. A delightful read.— Alice
A dazzling family saga, brimming with poetry and passion, that skillfully weaves together the private lives of individuals and major historical events in South America and Europe.
The house on Calle Santo Domingo in Santiago de Chile, with its lush lemon trees, has sheltered three generations of the Lonsonier family. Having arrived from the harsh hills of France’s Jura region with a single grape vine in one pocket and a handful of change in the other, the patriarch put down roots there in the late nineteenth century. His son, Lazare, back from World War I’s hellish trenches, would live there with his wife and build in their garden the most beautiful aviary in the Andes.
That’s where their daughter Margot, a pioneering aviator, would first dream of flying, and where she would raise her son, the revolutionary Ilario Da. Like Lazare before them, they will bravely face the conflicts of their day, fighting against dictatorship on both sides of the Atlantic.
In this captivating saga, Miguel Bonnefoy paints the portrait of an endearing, uprooted family whose terrible dilemmas, caused by the blows of history, reveal their deep humanity.
About the Author
Miguel Bonnefoy was born in France in 1986 to a Venezuelan mother and a Chilean father. His two previous novels, Octavio’s Journey and Black Sugar, have sold more than thirty thousand copies each in France and have been translated into several languages. In 2013 Bonnefoy was awarded the Prix du Jeune Écrivain. Heritage has received widespread critical acclaim in France, including being short-listed for the Prix Femina, Grand Prix de l'Académie française, and the Goncourt Prize.
Emily Boyce is an editor and translator based in London. Her translations include works by Antoine Laurain, Pascal Garnier, and Laurent Gaudé, and two previous novels by Miguel Bonnefoy. She was short-listed for the 2016 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for her translation of Éric Faye's Nagasaki.
“Bonnefoy packs an entire century into Heritage, despite its slender size. Elegantly translated by Emily Boyce, this tale of a French immigrant and his Franco-Chilean descendants casts a sometimes playful, sometimes tragic spell that will be familiar to devotees of Gabriel García Márquez.” —New York Times Book Review
“Rich, evocative, charming, and quite simply stunning. In these poetically written pages following a single family, Miguel Bonnefoy’s Heritage manages to speak volumes about history, courage, and home.” —Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Train to London
“Heritage is a lyrical fever dream of a novel. By turns tender and ferocious, meditative and searing, it traces a graceful, looping line across history and generations, in the process laying bare the shared dreams, joys, and traumas that connect us as human beings. I loved it.” —Jennifer Cody Epstein, USA Today bestselling author of Wunderland
“Miguel Bonnefoy’s Heritage shimmers off the page. The reader is seduced by three generations of the remarkable Lonsonier family, whose tales of anguish and love are echoed in the enchanting aviary they create in their garden in the Andes. The luminous characters endure passion and heartbreak through two world wars and beyond, with a plot that moves back and forth across continents. Translated exquisitely into English with beauty and precision, Bonnefoy’s bold and magical book is a triumph.” —Patty Dann, author of Mermaids and The Wright Sister
“Mesmerizing and inventive, Miguel Bonnefoy’s Heritage is a triumph alive with deeply felt characters braving new continents, wars, revolution, love, disillusion, ghosts, and even gravity as they strive to satisfy the simple yearnings of the heart against the cruelties of the human condition.” —Judithe Little, author of The Chanel Sisters and Wickwythe Hall
“In this bold and gripping saga, Miguel Bonnefoy intertwines his colorful characters’ fates with those of their homelands, from Europe to the Americas. Mapuche traditions become laced with a legacy that is specific to the uprooted and a visceral attachment to a land that is at times welcoming, and at others, deadly, and whose sap is the blood of its inhabitants.” —Lire
“[Miguel Bonnefoy,] whose story-telling talent is consistently impressive, is a veritable prodigy...Heritage is already turning into one of the highlights of the fall season.” —L’Express