Énard weaves an imaginative and suspenseful tale of civilizations and personalities clashing, of love, of being an artist in a violent era.

—Juan Vidal, NPR

Financial Times Book of the Year

Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants

Fiction by Mathias Énard

In 1506, Michelangelo—a young but already renowned sculptor—is invited by the sultan of Constantinople to design a bridge over the Golden Horn. The sultan has offered, alongside an enormous payment, the promise of immortality, since Leonardo da Vinci’s design was rejected: “You will surpass him in glory if you accept, for you will succeed where he has failed, and you will give the world a monument without equal.”

Michelangelo, after some hesitation, flees Rome and an irritated Pope Julius II—whose commission he leaves unfinished—and arrives in Constantinople for this truly epic project. Once there, he explores the beauty and wonder of the Ottoman Empire, sketching and describing his impressions along the way, and becomes immersed in cloak-and-dagger palace intrigues as he struggles to create what could be his greatest architectural masterwork.

Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants—constructed from real historical fragments—is a thrilling page-turner about why stories are told, why bridges are built, and how seemingly unmatched pieces, seen from the opposite sides of civilization, can mirror one another.

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Clothbound (published November 27, 2018)

ISBN
9780811227049
Price US
19.95
Price CN
25.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
144
ISBN
9780811227056

Mathias Énard

Prix Goncourt winning French novelist

Énard weaves an imaginative and suspenseful tale of civilizations and personalities clashing, of love, of being an artist in a violent era.

—Juan Vidal, NPR

In this charming little reverie of a book, inspiration springs from our unguarded confrontations with the unfamiliar.

—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants (deftly translated, like Énard’s three previous English releases, by Charlotte Mandell) is a tale of bastard genius that might have been, and a cautionary fable about the consequences of parochial timidity.

The New Yorker

Any year Mathias Enard brings us new work is always worth celebrating. He invites us to engage with subjects as intricate as beauty, history and art, and always finds some way to make it still feel vital, leaving you with a resounding sense of hope and generosity. While Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants may at times feel like reading the most beautiful poem as the world slowly degrades around you, it might also convince you that art is invincible. An important idea to hold on to, I think, as we wait for our political pantomimes to play out. Charlotte Mandell translates and the book is a miracle.

—Guy Gunaratne, New Statesman

Énard packs a feast for the senses into this short book.

Financial Times

Too interesting to pass up.

Literary Hub

A historical novel of exquisite beauty.

Publishers Weekly

Necessary — no one writes like Mathias Énard.

—Francine Prose

Énard fuses recollection and scholarly digression into a swirling, hypnotic, stream-of-consciousness narration.

The Wall Street Journal

All of Énard’s books share the hope of transposing prose into the empyrean of pure sound, where words can never correspond to stable meanings. He’s the composer of a discomposing age.

—Joshua Cohen, The New York Times Book Review