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Fear of PradiseFear of Paradise by Vincent Engel

Translated from the French by Richard Kutner
ISBN: 978-0-9911211-9-9
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Price: $24.95

Pages: 356

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Also available for the Kindle


Fear of Paradise is a story of longing and missed opportunities, separation, the passage of time, and the unforeseen consequences of innocent decisions. Set against the rise of Fascism in 1920s Italy, Vincent Engel’s haunting novel takes us on a journey through a wild and romantic landscape where two lonely adolescents forge a strange and wonderful friendship. Between the sea and the forest in the heart of Puglia lies the village of San Nidro, a village frozen in time. Here, Basilio and Lucia swear their love and loyalty until an irreparable act sets them on a collision course with the tragic reality of history.


For additional information about Vincent's book, please visit his website at:





Publication of this book was made possible by a generous translation grant from the Service de la Promotion des Lettres of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.


To read an excerpt now, Click Fear of Paradise Excerpt 1 or Fear of Paradise Excerpt 2


To watch a video trailer or to see an inteview with Vincent Engel, Click Fear of Paradise Trailer or Vincent Engel Interview


About the Author

Winner of many literary awards, Vincent Engel is a Belgian author of novels, novellas, essays, and plays as well as a professor of literature and history at the University of Louvain. His writing examines memory and the often conflicting links between rebellions and revolutions. Mr. Engel's works form a body of fiction in which each book is part of an ensemble, yet remains an entity unto itself, with the landscape, history, and culture of Italy at the forefront.


Since 2008 he has pursued his dramatic writing vigorously, notably in collaboration with Franco Dragone, a director known for his innovative approach to theater in his work with Cirque du Soleil.


Vincent has written fourteen novels published by major publishers in France, Belgium, and Quebec. In addition, he has co-written film scenarios and has published a biography of the Belgian priest and cosmologist Georges Lemaître, creator of the Big Bang Theory.

Fear of Paradise is available from Follett Library Services, YBP, Coutts, Brodart, Baker & Taylor, and Ingram Book Distributors.

About the Translator


Richard Kutner has a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in French literature from Yale University and a master’s degree in education from New York University. He has been doing creative translation from French to English and English to French for many years, including film narration and subtitles, song lyrics (for Disney and Larry King Jazz), short stories, and children’s books. His first translation of a novel, Fear of Paradise (La peur du paradis) by acclaimed Belgian author Vincent Engel, is being published in the US by Owl Canyon Press in May 2015.




Praise for

Fear of Paradise


“A beautifully constructed, unsettling novel - set in a superbly realized Italian village before the cataclysm of World War II - Fear of Paradise speaks volumes about the secrets we all carry with us.”

Douglas Kennedy, author of Five Days, The Moment, and The Pursuit Of Happiness

“Vincent Engel is the kind of writer I dreamed of becoming. At once discreet and prolific, he has allowed his body of writing to speak for itself, and he is today among the most important and well-respected writers in French.”

Alain Mabanckou, 2015 Man Booker award finalist and author of Lumières de Pointe-Noire (The Lights of Pointe-Noire), Bleu-Blanc-Rouge (Blue-White-Red), and Verre Cassé (Broken Glass)

"Life and death, love and lust, religion and superstition make up the mix that award-winning Belgian author Vincent Engel stirs into his haunting novel, Fear of Paradise. Set in a remote fishing village in southern Italy in the 1920s, the plot follows the story of two young star-crossed lovers and examines the impact of Fascist rule on a simple people steeped in tradition. Enigmatic and thought-provoking. Richard Kutner’s glowing translation deftly retains the flavor of the original."
Victor Rangel-Ribeiro, author of Tivolem, a novel, and Loving Ayesha, collected short stories



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