Naming the Jungle

A Novel

A novel of political and psychological intrigue from one of France’s most innovative and visionary authors

“Volodine writes with a confident and engaging style. . . . [His] quirky and eccentric narrative achieves quite staggering and electric effects. . . . Naming the Jungle, dazzling in its epic proportions and imaginative scope, will richly reward anyone interested in modern French writing, works on South America and a sharply original voice.” —The Nation

Antoine Volodine has been hailed as one of the most innovative and accomplished writers in France today. Compared by critics to Franz Kafka and Lewis Carroll, Volodine weaves an unusual novel of political and psychological intrigue in a lush, exotic setting. The publication of Naming the Jungle marks his American debut and the first translation of his work into English.

Puesto Libertad could be any Latin American city torn by the strife of civil war. In this isolated capital buried in the jungle, the revolutionary secret police have started digging into Fabian Golpiez’s past. In order to avoid brutal torture and interrogation, he decides to feign madness. Led by a local shaman/psychiatrist in a bizarre talking cure, Golpiez must use indigenous names to prove both his innocence and his true Tupi Indian identity. To name is to conquer. He names the monkeys, the plants, and the insects all around him as he names his fear, his paranoia, and his pathologies.

A masterful storyteller, Volodine speaks to us about the slow and fatal agony of revolution in a haunting and intense novel, one of the most dazzling pieces of fiction to come out of France since the early novels of Robbe-Grillet and Duras.