The Firsts

The Firsts

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By Xabi Molia

Translated by Alexander Hertich

ISBN: 9781628974621

Publication Date: 4/18/23

The Ugly Side of Superheroes.

What if you suddenly had superpowers? What would you do? How would your friends and family react? What would your obligations to society be?

The superheroes’ first missions— combating terrorists and rescuing disaster victims— are a boon to France. Yet while these actions bring the country pride, unity quickly begins to unravel. These superheroes, ultimately, are human. Paparazzi are everywhere. One has an affair with another’s wife. Another begins to question the government’s imperialist agenda. Meanwhile, the public carps on social media. Molia takes our fascination with superheroes and adds a cutting portrayal of contemporary social mores to create an entertaining and disturbing work with deep dystopian underpinnings.


"Just as the superheroes attempt to escape the strictures imposed upon them and resist the ways in which they are exploited by the French government and global media, so too does Molia’s novel resist easy classification and subvert expectations, demonstrating the novel’s enduring capacity to critique society while celebrating wild flights of imagination." —Phillipe Brand, Contemporary French and Francophone Studies

Praise for Avant de Disparaître

"As always, Miano’s poetry and suspense combine to create another superbly crafted novel." Chris Reyns-Chikuma, The French Review, Johns Hopkins University Press

Biographical Information

Xabi Molia was born in Bayonne, France, in 1977. After studying literature, he wrote a dissertation on Hollywood disaster films for his doctorate in film studies. Molia taught at the Université de Poitiers until 2011 when he left to pursue a career as a novelist and filmmaker. He has directed three feature films and published numerous books, including six novels. 

Alexander Hertich is Professor of French and Chair of World Languages and Cultures at Bradley University. His translation of René Belletto’s Dying was a finalist for the French-American Foundation Annual Translation Prize. He has translated works by Simone de Beauvoir, Étienne Balibar, Nicolas Bouyssi, and Christian Gailly. In addition to translation, he is an active literary scholar and has published on Patrick Modiano, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Marie NDiaye, Frédéric Beigbeder, and Raymond Queneau.