The Legacy by Jean-Paul Dubois
Paul Katrakilis has been living in Miami for a few years, earning a living as a professional player of jai alai (a variation of Basque pelota). Happier than he’s ever been, he still feels out of place in the world. Even playing the sport he loves no longer eases the weight upon his shoulders. When the French consulate calls to tell him that his father has died, he finally decides to face up to the memory of a family he has struggled to forget.
There was nothing ordinary about the Katrakilis family: his grandfather, one of Stalin’s doctors, fled the USSR with a sliver of the dictator’s brain in his luggage; his father, a doctor too, had a strange and unfeeling manner; his mother and her brother lived virtually as husband and wife. And all seemed bent on their own extinction. But when Paul returns to the family home in Toulouse, he stumbles upon a pair of black notebooks kept secretly by his father, and finally understands the true meaning of his legacy.
In The Legacy, Jean-Paul Dubois deploys his characteristically elegant prose and taste for the absurd. Weaving together the pleasure of nostalgia and the pain of loss, the ecstasy of love and the ache of yearning, he tells the moving story of one man’s quest to pierce the enigma of his family history, and find meaning in his own existence. All set against the backdrop of the fascinating world of jai alai in 1980s Miami.
Jean-Paul Dubois was born in Toulouse, where he still lives. In 1984, he became an international correspondent for Le Nouvel Observateur, undertaking a dissection of the United States in a series of columns that would later be published in two volumes. Dubois is the author of over a dozen novels, including Kennedy et Moi (Prix France Télévisions, 1996) and Une Vie Française (Prix Femina and Prix du Roman Fnac, 2004) – published in English as A French Life (Penguin, 2007).