***Winner of the Prix Livre Inter and Prix Valery Larbaud***
***First two chapters translated by Linda Coverdale***
***Over 40,000 copies sold***
The Tunnel, a genre-defying first novel by Cloé Korman, moves across time and borders, slowly but compellingly revealing the hidden narratives of a blended family, corporate greed, and cultural imperative. Two alternating sides of the same story connect The Tunnel. The first presents two immigrants in Mexico: Florence Evans, an American, and George Bernache, a Frenchman and the adoptive father of Nino, a young Mexican boy. We meet them in 1945, at their first encounter in front of the Pyramid of the Moon in Teotihuacan, Mexico. The second thread weaves its way backward, starting forty years later in New York, when Joshua Hopper is charged with investigating the company that employed the Bernaches in Mexico.
As the stories emerge, we learn that George Bernache and his new wife Florence have been recruited by a multinational corporation to help build a tunnel designed to deliver Mexican petroleum to the United States. Although no oil will ever make its way across the border, the operation, owned by the New York-based Pullman Foundation, endures over the years because of the special interests of the chief engineer for the project. He is a lover and trafficker of the archeological objects that workers uncover as they dig the tunnel. That dishonesty leads to greater ones: With the cooperation of the Bernaches, the tunnel becomes not just a source of illicit artifacts, but also a route for Mexican immigrants illegally crossing the border. One day Nino will use the tunnel for that purpose himself.
Two decades later, Joshua Hopper, an engineer for the new owner of the Pullman Foundation, becomes intrigued by the original tunnel project. He opens the file, but all he can find is a note with the name Grís Bandejo. Grís has been involved with the Bernache family since their arrival in Minas Blancas, near the American border. Piece by piece, Grís's past is revealed and the tangled history of the Pullman Foundation and the Bernache family begins to unravel.