"My mother says that there are things in life that she can't forgive . . ."
At age 16, Dipita's mother, Mbila, arrived in Switzerland from Cameroon. Trafficked into Europe, she supported herself and her son as a prostitute in Geneva. Dipita, now a young, black, gay man serving a five-year sentence in a Swiss prison, shares their story and his own search for purpose. He intertwines their stories with the life of Uncle Démoney, a former civil servant in Cameroon, who staked everything on sending his sister to Switzerland.
39 Berne Street explores the complex themes of prostitution, immigration, and homosexuality through a fluid and expressive prose that makes it ring true. Originally published in French, it won the Prix du Roman des Romands in 2014.
Max Lobe's 39 Berne Street vividly describes the unforgivable actions visited by family members upon family members in desperate bids for survival and contentment in the midst of Dipita's struggle toward forgiveness and acceptance.
Born in Douala, Cameroon, in 1986,Max Lobe is a Swiss-Cameroonian novelist, short story writer, and poet. In 2017, he received the Ahmadou Kourouma Prize for his novel Confidences about the Cameroon war of independence. He currently lives in Geneva where he founded GenevAfrica, an association that builds bridges between Swiss and African authors.
Johanna McCalmont is a Northern Irish translator and interpreter based in Brussels where she works from French, German, Dutch, and Italian.