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  • Published: 20 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781787303737
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $34.99

The Most Secret Memory of Men

The half-million copy bestseller from a young Senegalese star, the first winner of the Prix Goncourt from Sub-Saharan Africa

Paris, 2018. Diégane Latyr Faye, a young Senegalese writer, discovers a legendary book titled The Maze of Inhumanity. It has an immediate hold over him. No one knows what happened to the author, T.C. Elimane, who was accused of plagiarism, his reputation destroyed by the critics.

Obsessed with discovering the truth about Elimane's disappearance, Faye weaves past and present, countries and continents, following the author's labyrinthine trail from Senegal to Argentina and France and confronting the great tragedies of history.

Will he get to the truth at the centre of the maze?

A gripping literary quest novel and a masterpiece of perpetual reinvention, The Most Secret Memory of Men confronts the impact of colonialism and neo-colonialism, the holocaust in Europe, dictatorships in South America and the Caribbean, genocide in Africa, and collaboration and resistance everywhere. Above all, it is a love song to literature and its timeless power.

  • Published: 20 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781787303737
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $34.99

About the author

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1990. He studied literature and philosophy at L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris. Brotherhood, his first novel, won the Grand Prix du Roman Métis, the Prix Ahmadou-Kourouma, and the French Voices Grand Prize. The president of Senegal named him a Chevalier of the National Order of Merit. In 2021, he won the Prix Goncourt for The Most Secret Memory of Men, becoming the first author from sub-Saharan Africa to win the award and one of the youngest at only thirty-one years old.

Praise for The Most Secret Memory of Men

Captivating, precise, sensual prose. A book that will stir your emotions and make you think. A love letter to literature, this novel is already a classic and it will haunt you.

Leïla Slimani, bestselling author of LULLABY

More than an engrossing investigation into the mysterious author of a cursed book, Sarr's magnificent novel also offers a profound reflection on the resonance of literature in our lives.

David Diop, International Booker Prize–winning author of AT NIGHT ALL BLOOD IS BLACK

A powerful book, crossed by an epic breath that celebrates the power of literature.

Alain Mabanckou, author of BLACK MOSES

Thanks to translator Lara Vergnaud, English-language readers can seamlessly experience Mohamed Mbougar Sarr's pyrotechnic prose. A labyrinth of a novel, The Most Secret Memory of Men is as enthralling as it is thought-provoking. Sarr is a writer that comes along once in a lifetime.

Eric Nguyen, author of THINGS WE LOST TO THE WATER

This marvellous novel is part gripping literary mystery and part disquisition on being a black author in a predominantly white culture… the reader is drawn into a skilfully drawn reconstruction of French literary history in which ideas of authenticity, power, race and fame are wittily deconstructed. Terrific

Daily Mail

A masterpiece

The Times

Funny, sharp takes on questions of identity add grit to an inventive tribute to literature's timeless potency

Mail on Sunday

A literary quest… The style as well as the sweep is Bolañoesque: surreal metaphors, multi-page dream descriptions


Sarr’s incisive critique never relents… a brilliant effort at welcoming readers into the work of an author whose career was interrupted