Winner of the Prix Goncourt for first novel, this debut follows a young revolutionary who plants a bomb in a factory on the outskirts of Algiers during the Algerian War. The bomb is timed to explode after work hours, so no one will be hurt. But the authorities have been watching. He is caught, the bomb is defused, and he is tortured, tried in a day, condemned to death, and thrown into a cell to await the guillotine. A routine event, perhaps, in a brutal conflict that ended the lives of more than a million Muslim Algerians.
...electrifying ... Andras gives an unsparing account of the capture and execution of the real-life revolutionary Fernand Iveton at the hands of the French Army ... Andras is most interested in the intimate dimensions of this radical life. He hurries the first pages of his novel through Iveton’s would-be act of sabotage and his subsequent arrest, and then asks us to bear witness not only to the excruciating details of his brutalization, but also to the concatenation of family history ... Despite a translation that struggles to render the tautness and lyricism of Andras’s prose, the intensity of both Iveton’s principles and the political moment he’s embroiled in still manages to shine through. Toggling between past and present, Andras allows multiple voices onto the same page — into the same sentence, even — and so sketches the landscape of politics and emotions that sealed Iveton’s fate ... Tomorrow They Won’t Dare to Murder Us insists on plumbing the thorniest details of history’s scandal, suggesting — convincingly — that certain truths are best revealed in fiction.
Andras brings the story back to life with painful immediacy and palpable urgency ... Half of this novel seems to be shot through with torture, the aspect of the war which did the most to upend notions of the 'France of the Republic, Voltaire, Hugo, Clemenceau, the France of human rights, of Human Rights' ... This is not to say that this book is a solid slab of revolutionary anti-colonial propaganda (although you get the feeling, in Andras’s hands, it would be equally readable). It is honest about the everyday violence inflicted by both sides ... The other half of the novel is more tender; every other chapter traces Iveton’s relationship with Hélène, a waitress he meets while recovering from a bout of tuberculosis in Paris before and his future wife. The inner life is on full display in these chapters, both the characters’ and, you sense, the novelist’s own.
... a compact narrative with an elevated pulse and a singular purpose – to show how an unexceptional person may act exceptionally when oppression is too threatening to one’s community to ignore ... The novel pivots between the present tense – the arrest and incarceration of Iveton – and past scenes in which he and Hélène become lovers. The prose is lucid, unsparing but also animated by a certain poised affection for its oppressed characters. Andras’ unfussy, vivid phrasing may evoke the style of another Algeria-based novel – namely Camus’ L’etranger ... By basing his narrative instead on Iveton’s love for his community, friends and family, perhaps Andras is providing Tomorrow They Won’t Dare to Murder Us as not only an antidote to Meursault’s condition, but as a more pertinent text for today’s French syllabus.