When not fearing eviction or avoiding relatives’ demands to send money, three illegal immigrants from Côte d’Ivoire work as impeccable security guards in upscale women’s stores on Paris’s Champs-Élysées. The diversity of shoppers supplies nearly endless entertainment for the large, black, acutely visible guards. They share hilarious, absurd, and stupid stories that keep them awake, amused, and standing tall for very long shifts.— Kay Wosewcik
Shortlisted for the 2023 International Booker Prize - One of The Walrus' Best Fall Books of 2023
A funny, fast-paced, and poignant take on Franco-African history, as told through the eyes of three African security guards in Paris.
All over the city, they are watching: Black men paid to stand guard, invisible among the wealthy fl neurs and yet the only ones who truly see. From Les Grands Moulins to a Sephora on the Champs- lys es, Ferdinand, Ossiri, and Kassoum find their way as undocumented workers amidst political infighting and the ever-changing landscape of immigration policy. Fast-paced and funny, poignant and sharply satirical, Standing Heavy is a searing deconstruction of colonial legacies and capitalist consumption and an unforgettable account of everything that passes under the security guards' all-seeing eyes.