THE RUNAWAY • Albertine Sarrazin

Hardcover / 480 pages
Grove Press / 1967

Born in Algiers, Algeria, she was quickly abandoned and put in the care of the social services, being then christened Albertine Damien in honour of the saint of the day she was found on. She was then adopted by a family that moved her to Aix-en-Provence. Within that dysfunctional family, she was abused by a family member and constantly quarreling with them, which led to an intense distaste for authority that stayed with her the rest of her life.

Although she was intelligent and did well in her studies, Albertine's family sent her to a reformatory school in Marseille. She escaped to Paris where she satisfied her thirst for literature and art while she engaged in prostitution. In 1953, a bungled armed hold-up led to her imprisonment within Fresnes Prison. Upon escaping (and breaking her ankle in the process) she met Julien Sarrazin, and the two were soon married. The two continued to live lives of crime, spending time in and out of jail and keeping in contact through letters.

In prison, Sarrazin wrote her first novels, L'Astragale and La Cavale, which were published after her release in 1964 (the astragale of the title is the French word for the talus bone, which both she and the main character of her novel broke on their escapes from jail). Astragale was translated in English at that same time. Their success allowed the married couple to settle in Montpellier where she wrote her third story, La Traversière. The novel also performed well, but she died shortly afterwards from complications during kidney surgery; she was only 29 years old. 

︎ Condition note: A used book in Very Good condition / tanning to pages / creasing to interior flap of dust jacket / some rubbing to cover as pictured / binding is sturdy / page and board tanning / interior pages are clean and free of marks or underlinings / Book comes wrapped in protective mylar