Category French

Me, She, I, Too: Adélaïde Bon’s “The Little Girl on the Ice Floe,” Translated from French by Tina Kover

Content Warning: Sexual Violence, Rape By Alec Joyner Over the last few years, more and more novels, memoirs, and books of poetry have begun to plumb the depths—the intricate, historically entrenched structures of sexual violence—that extend far beneath the #MeToo hashtag. These books are making a case, implicitly, for the ongoing value of literature, a […]

A Fast-Paced Dive Into Worlds That Could Have Been: “Explosions: Michael Bay and the Pyrotechnics of the Imagination,” Translated from French by Aleshia Jensen

By Julia Peterson In Explosions: Michael Bay and the Pyrotechnics of the Imagination, translated from French by Aleshia Jensen, Mathieu Poulin has penned a captivating, whirlwind tour through film and philosophy, presented as a false biography of American filmmaker Michael Bay. At times vividly cinematic, at times intensely intellectual, and often sharply parodying one or […]

“I’d love to love you”: Sarah Léon’s “Wanderer,” Translated from French by John Cullen

By Janet Lee Sarah Léon wrote Wanderer in 2016, at age twenty-one, four years after she had published her first work, the novella Mon Alban. The novella is narrated from the perspective of a mother writing to her musically-gifted son Alban, unable to send her letters since Alban disappeared over the Berlin wall, leaving her […]

Declining the Metatranslational Revenge Plot: Brice Matthieussent’s “Revenge of the Translator,” translated from French by Emma Ramadan

Reviewed by Jed Deppman     *     ____________________________________________________________________________________________ *In interviews in 2009 and 2010, French translator Brice Matthieussent explained the idea for his first novel. In the 1990s he told publisher Christian Bourgois that he dreamed of a book where the text would be absent, available to the reader only by imaginative inference […]

Dream Brothers: Two New Novels from QC Fiction

Brothers by David Clerson, translated by Katia Grubisic, and Listening for Jupiter by Pierre-Luc Landry, translated by Arielle Aaronson and Madeleine Stratford Reviewed by Alex Andriesse American readers can be counted on to name at least three or four Canadian writers: Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, and Michael Ondaatje come immediately to mind. Munro is from […]

Lacombe Lucien

Creating Dangerously: Louis Malle and Patrick Modiano’s Lacombe Lucien: The Screenplay, Translated by Sabine Destrée

Reviewed by Alex Andriesse It’s easy to be cynical about Patrick Modiano’s recent explosion into English. Since winning the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, Modiano has rocketed overnight from relative obscurity to anglophone-literary-world fame. Before the award was announced, fewer than a dozen of his thirty-odd books had been published in English. In the roughly […]

Ladivine-Marie NDiaye

Modern ghosts: Marie NDiaye’s Ladivine, Translated by Jordan Stump

Reviewed by Lara Vergnaud Tense, horrified, apprehensive–the reader is anything but indifferent to Ladivine, the latest offering from French author Marie NDiaye. The novel, translated by Jordan Stump, and nominated for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, follows three generations of women from one family through mysterious and tragic circumstances. From the first encounter with […]

Recounting the Past: Michèle Audin’s One Hundred Twenty-One Days, Translated by Christiana Hills

Reviewed by Amanda Sarasien How to tell the unspeakable story…Perhaps numbers tell what words cannot? Our instinct is to rebel against this notion. We think of numbers, cold stats, as faceless, even violent. The Nazis were obsessive counters, tattooing concentration-camp prisoners with numbers to strip them of identity, performing experiments which transformed human beings into […]

Jean-Paul Clébert-Paris Vagabond

Paris on Zero Dollars a Day: Jean-Paul Clébert’s Paris Vagabond, Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith

Reviewed by Alex Andriesse Legend has it that Jean-Paul Clébert composed Paris Insolite (translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith as Paris Vagabond) from “a hopeless conglomeration of used envelopes, newsprint edges, unfolded Gauloises packets, and multicolored and multifarious scraps of paper” (3). He hoarded this conglomeration in a paper bag and, most impressively, held onto it through […]

Marie NDiaye-Self Portrait in Green

Navigating troubled waters: Marie NDiaye’s Self-Portrait in Green translated by Jordan Stump

Reviewed by Lara Vergnaud Self-Portrait in Green, written by French author Marie NDiaye and translated by Jordan Stump, is a short book, clocking in at 103 pages. Right from the start—as the narrator watches the floodwaters of the Garonne River in southwest France rise—the reader is swept up by a sense of unease. The author […]

Sheds/Hangars-José-Flore Tappy

The Invisible Swell: José-Flore Tappy’s Sheds

Reviewed by Emily Thompson To hold an author’s complete works between two fingers is wonderful and disorienting—how can it be possible to condense so much experience and so many years into an inch of shelf space? Yet José-Flore Tappy’s recent collection of poetry, Sheds (in the original French, Hangars) does just that, benefitting from the […]

Michel Gondry-Mood Indigo

Foam of the Daze, translated to the Screen

Reviewed by Lucina Schell, Editor Despite being a highly cinematic book, when Boris Vian’s L’Écume des jours was published in 1947 it would have been difficult to imagine a film capable of equaling its fantastical imagination in technological effects. Now, we have the capacity to bring to vivid life even the most impossible ideas, but it is […]

Herve Le Tellier- Electrico W

Dissecting Layers: Hervé Le Tellier’s Electrico W, Translated by Adriana Hunter

Reviewed by Lara Vergnaud Electrico W is about fragments – of time, memory, language and relationships, which rudely brush against one another, and which don’t seem to cohere until they do. This latest work by experimental French author Hervé Le Tellier, published in France by JC Lattès in 2011, and now available in English thanks […]

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

Forgotten Histories: Pierre Michon’s Winter Mythologies and Abbots, Translated by Ann Jefferson

Reviewed by Amanda Sarasien History is not the sole domain of great men and “shot-heard-round-the-world” events. At least, not for Pierre Michon, one of France’s most acclaimed contemporary writers, who pored over historical archives to imagine the tales of long-forgotten figures for his most recent English-language release, Winter Mythologies and Abbots. These tales were originally published […]

Felicity, the Tale of the Simple Heart

Access & Aesthetics: An Interview with Luis de Miranda, Haute Culture Books

The young and exciting Haute Culture Books has already made a name for itself with its innovative take on the participative publishing model. Governed by the philosophy “digital books should be free, physical books should be sublime,” HCB rewards its “Book Angels” with beautifully crafted art object limited editions that subsidize the wide distribution of […]