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LILA SAYS by Chimo


by Chimo

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-83603-3
Publisher: Scribner

This pseudonymous 1996 debut novel was a bestseller in France, where the mystery surrounding its author’s identity itself became a major news item. The story traces the effect on its narrator (Chimo), a 19-year-old Algerian boy adrift in Paris, of the younger Lila, a sexual agent provocateur who regales, excites, and horrifies him with detailed accounts of her (just possibly fictional) erotic misadventures (a fantasy of sex with the Devil inspired by Lila’s superstitious aunt is especially appealing). The tension between Chimo’s struggles to understand her (and himself) and efforts to express his sense of exclusion from French society paradoxically imbue this tense rÇcit with a suspenseful and rewarding complexity.