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Standing Heavy

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781529414448

Price: £12

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“One of those rare, transformative novels” KARIM MISKE
“Funny and poignant” TIFFANY TSAO, author of The Majesties

Initially a little intrigued, all babies eventually return the security guard’s smile.
The security guard adores babies. Perhaps because babies do not shoplift.
Babies adore the security guard. Perhaps because he does not drag babies to the sales.

The 1960s – Ferdinand arrives in Paris from Côte d’Ivoire, ready to take on the world and become a big somebody.
The 1990s – It is the Golden Age of immigration, and Ossiri and Kassoum navigate a Paris on the brink of momentous change.
The 2010s – In a Sephora on the Champs-Élysées, the all-seeing eyes of a security guard observes the habits of those who come to worship at this church to consumerism.

Amidst the political bickering of the inhabitants of the Residence for Students from Côte d’Ivoire and the ever-changing landscape of French immigration policy, Ferdinand, Ossiri and Kassoum, two generations of Ivoirians, attempt to make their way as undocumented workers, taking shifts as security at a flour mill.

Sharply satirical, political and poignant, Standing Heavy is a searingly witty deconstruction of colonial legacies and capitalist consumption, an unprecedented and unforgettable account of everything that passes under a security guard’s gaze.

Translated from the French by Frank Wynne

“Inventive and very funny” Guardian
“A compact, humane satire” Financial Times


This compact, humane satire, deftly translated by Frank Wynne, entertains as much as it informs.
Lucy Popescu, Financial Times
This inventive and very funny debut novel offers a whistle-stop, whizz-bang tour of Franco-African history
Under the guise of fun, the author shows the pathos of the buying fever in the West, mixing the madness of the sales with the history of Ivorians in Paris
Nouvel Observateur
Brutal, fierce and often awkward, this little book will feel like a body search
An alert, offbeat and indispensable book
La Nouvelle Vie Ouvrière
What an eye! Gauz saw everything, observed everything, analysed everything during his experiences as a security guard. He takes a dive in time and into the territory of the Ivorians of Paris. The whole French immigration policy emerges through this book . . . Fresh and witty
A powerful book
Full of hilarious observations
Le Figaro
A formidable keenness of observation and a sarcastic wit
La Croix
A tender and ironic look at our consumer society
Gauz honours the sufferings, pitfalls and joys of the African community in Paris, by painting a grotesque portrait of our consumer society
A cunning observer and a disenchanted protestor, Gauz makes shopping an ethnological mine, a priceless sketch and a combat sport
Gauz castigates the excesses of our society with a humorous first novel in which political satire takes on airs of a poetry slam
Stylist (France)
I ended up laughing out loud
Huffington Post
Gauz casts a tender, yet lucid gaze on the African community. By devoting a book to the shadowy men of security, Gauz finally gives voice and life to those who, oddly enough, are invisible
Le Matricule des Anges
A funny and poignant intergenerational tale of three Ivoirian men newly arrived in Paris. And a sharp social and political commentary, delivered via the sharp eyes of the black security guards that white Paris relies on to keep itself safe.
TIFFANY TSAO, author of The Majesties and translator of International Booker-longlisted Happy Stories, Mostly
Dura lex sed... dura! The harsh standing life of an immigrant. A pataphysical ethnography of the consumer society written by an undocumented anthropologist with an exemplary critical humour
ALBERTO PRUNETTI, author of Down and Out in England and Italy
Beautifully written from the point of view of a Black, Marxist security guard, Standing Heavy is one of those rare, transformative novels. Beware: it might make your next shopping trip somewhat trickier
No-one is spared in this biting, satirical account of cosmopolitan life
Conrad Landin, New Internationalist