Faraway the Southern Sky

Faraway the Southern Sky:A Novel

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Ho Chi Minh’s lost formative years in Paris

Fleeing persecution in Indochina, the young Ho Chi Minh arrived in Paris as World War I was sputtering to a close. A painfully shy twentysomething, he joined the shadowy figures of the demimonde, the radicals, poor artists, prostitutes, the luckless, and rebellious.

Six years later, he boarded a train bound for the young Soviet Union as the fiery, passionate leader of the Vietnamese independence movement and a founder of the French Communist Party. He had lived under various pseudonyms in a succession of seedy apartments. There had been arrests and beatings, jobs in restaurants and photo shops, revolutionary writing in the Bibliothèque nationale, and meetings with Chaplin and Colette, all while being dogged by French spies—much of what we know about the young man’s Paris years is thanks to that surveillance.

Searching for traces of the past in the streets of today, Joseph Andras hears echoes of other angry histories, from terror attacks to tent encampments to the protests of the Gilets jaunes. This intensely lyrical, genre-bending book is a meditation on what could be called the grandeur of the poor, the free, the outcast, and the rebellious—people who might not find a place in history books but without whom history could not be written.

Praise for Tomorrow They Won’t Dare to Murder Us
- "Electrifying ... insists on plumbing the thorniest details of history’s scandal, suggesting—convincingly—that certain truths are best revealed in fiction." Kaiama L. Glover, New York Times
- "A very beautiful book to reflect on: when a 'traitor' preserves our ‘dignity.'" Éric Vuillard, author of The War of the Poor and The Order of the Day
- "An austerely compelling account ... Andras's bleak account is leavened by passages of vibrant lyricism." Laura Garmeson, Times Literary Supplement
- "Andras delivers a brisk, angry slap of outraged idealism … Powerful." Boyd Tonkin, Spectator
- "Tightly coiled ... Andras is fastidious about adhering to the known facts. His restraint is commendable." Literary Review


  • In this eloquent and impassioned novella, Andras charts a course through contemporary Paris in the footsteps of Vietnamese leader Hô Chí Minh ... his flâneur's chronicle builds to a richly layered and emotionally honest reckoning with the promises and failures of a great leader. Andras's meditation strikes a nerve.

    Starred ReviewPublishers Weekly
  • A buzzing, bustling, genre-blending book that balances fact and fiction ... the most successful passages arise when Andras extracts truth from either fact or fiction to depict a more real-seeming person behind the historical giant, as when a young H? Chí Minh borrows Marx's Capital from a Parisian library and, rather than peruse and annotate its pages, 'the big book served as his pillow.'

    Kirkus Reviews
  • More than a read. An experience.

    K. M. SandrickHistorical Novel Society