Jakuta Alikavazovic presents 'Like a Sky Inside'

"Jakuta Alikavazovic’s sentences and charged silences bring individual and collective histories into unpredictable, illuminating relation. . . We need all of her books in English." —Ben Lerner


Third Place Books is pleased to welcome French author and translator Jakuta Alikavazovic as part of her U.S. tour for Like a Sky Insidetranslated into English by Daniel Levin Becker. Alikavazovic will be joined in conversation by the Executive Director of the Alliance Française de Seattle, Otilia Baraboi. This event is free and open to the public.

This event is a part of Villa Albertine’s Authors on Tour program. Jakuta Alikavazovic’s 2024 U.S. tour is made possible by Villa Albertine and the author's U.S. publisher Fern Books, with additional cultural and financial support from the Alliance Française de Seattle and the French and Italian Department at the University of Washington.

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About Like a Sky Inside. . .

A young new mother spends the night alone in the Louvre ruminating about her father, who after each of their many visits to the Louvre would ask just how she'd go about stealing the Mona Lisa.

Let's go back even further, my father said. It's not even certain that the original purpose of what we call art was to be seen.

In a way, we could go so far as to say that art, what we call art, is made less to be seen than to be stolen.

Winner of the Prix Medicis Essai 2021

In March 2020, a young woman spends the night in the Louvre. At home: her nine-month-old son. In her overnight bag: a notebook, a toiletry kit, a duvet, a cube of nougat, and something that shouldn't be there. In her head: memories of the Venus de Milo, of land art and the American road, of romance and travel and immigration and war —and of her father, who after each of their many visits to the Louvre would ask just how she'd go about stealing the Mona Lisa. An insightful and heartfelt meditation on the possibilities and impossibilities of art, on parenthood and the betrayals of growing up, on foreignness and belonging, and on the secret conversations between our souls and the places that linger in our dreams.

 

Praise for Like a Sky Inside. . .

"Jakuta Alikavazovic’s sentences and charged silences bring individual and collective histories into unpredictable, illuminating relation. She writes with lyric precision while making the limits of language felt. We need all of her books in English."
—Ben Lerner, author of The Topeka School

"With this book, Jakuta confirms her immense and singular talent. She leads us in superb style through the Louvre, on the trail of her childhood. She examines identity, the place of memory, and that territory of the night that she has brilliantly made her own. A deeply moving book!"
—Leïla Slimani, author of The Perfect Nanny

"Jakuta Alikavazovic charges her prose with tension and truth, offering the companionship of her generous, seeking mind while also daring to turn the lights off — to leave us for brief moments alone in the dark — for the purpose of drawing closer to the absences structuring this extraordinary portrait of the writer as a daughter, as a mother, as a second-generation emigrant, as a patient sifter of the most formative stories, her powers of transgression and self-preservation stashed in a shoulder bag. Like a Sky Inside is deeply compelling, secret, and surprising. I loved it."
—Kate Briggs, author of The Long Form

"Jakuta Alikavazovic’s sentences, beautifully translated by Daniel Levin Becker, are quicksilver prodigies, many-headed and many-tailed; one experiences them as disturbances and occasions, as corporeal shocks. She is one of the great writers of our time."
—Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness

"A perfect sculpture of pure thought, the kind of artwork that makes you want to steal it, a generous and joyful book that stitches memory and philosophy and narrative together so elegantly I was completely enthralled."
—Catherine Lacey, author of Biography of X


About Villa Albertine

Villa Albertine is a cultural institution that supports exchanges in arts and ideas between the United States, France, and beyond. With outposts in 10 US cities—Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Washington, DC—Villa Albertine presents innovative programming nationwide including 50+ customized residencies for international artists, thinkers, and cultural leaders across disciplines each year; a series of cross-cultural dialogues and events; a magazine and podcast; and grants, resources, and incubator programs for professionals in the cultural sphere.

Villa Albertine is an institution of the Embassy of France in the United States. Learn more at villa-albertine.org.


Jakuta Alikavazovic was born in Paris to a family of Bosnian and Montenegrin origins. Her parents settled in France in the early 1970’s and Jakuta Alikavazovic was brought up bilingual, with close ties to her Bosnian and Montenegrin relatives. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious Goncourt Prize for a first novel and more recently, the Médicis Prize for non-fiction with her latest work Like A Sky Inside (Comme un ciel en nous, Stock; trans. by Daniel Levin Becker, Fern Books, 2024). She is also a columnist for the French newspaper Libération and the translator into French of authors including Toni Morrison and Daniel Foster Wallace. (Photo credit: Francesca Mantovani)

Otilia Baraboi is the Executive Director of the Alliance Française de Seattle that she joined in 2022. She holds a PhD in French Studies from the University of Washington, and a Master of Advanced Studies (DEA) in French Literature from the University of Geneva. Prior to her appointment at the Alliance Française, she taught French Language and Literature at UW for 18 years, and occasionally Romanian literature and film. Her own research focuses on practices of translation and Francophone writers from Eastern Europe.


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