"I didn't want people to read in the same way they might eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but because I wanted them to know the mind-expanding privilege of walking a mile in someone else's shoes." Cathy Rentzenbrink
Posts tagged "France"
Antoine Laurain: Imagined reality

Antoine Laurain: Imagined reality

Antoine Laurain’s briskly comic new novel The Readers’ Room takes readers inside the rarefied world of a Parisian publishing house, and revolves around a reclusive debut author known as Camille Désencres whose murder mystery Sugar Flowers has made the Prix Goncourt shortlist. Things take a dark turn when ‘Camille’ emails her editor Violaine Lepage to say,...
Author's lunch

Author’s lunch

Inviting an author to lunch is one of the publishing world’s great rituals. Authors receive an invitation four or five times a year. Since there are many authors in one publishing house, that means a lot of lunches. Editors feed their authors like fat misanthropic cats they’re hoping to butter up and make purr. The...
From Tiger Girl

From Tiger Girl

Pascale Petit’s new poetry collection marks a shift from the Amazonian rainforests of her previous work to explore her grandmother’s Indian heritage and the fauna and flora of subcontinental jungles. The ‘Tiger Girl’ of the title is the grandmother, with her tales of wild tigers, but also the endangered predators Petit encountered in Central India. The...
Sanaë Lemoine: Brittle love

Sanaë Lemoine: Brittle love

Sanaë Lemoine’s debut novel The Margot Affair is narrated by the illegitimate teenage daughter of leading French actress Anouk Louve and prominent politician Bertrand Lapierre. Margot has grown up under a shroud of silence and shame, and as she emerges into adulthood she treads an independent path that threatens to stretch the bonds of family...
Jean-Baptiste Andrea: The child within

Jean-Baptiste Andrea: The child within

Jean-Baptiste Andrea’s A Hundred Million Years and a Day is the fictitious story of fifty-something Stan, a middle-aged fossil-hunter who, in the summer of 1954, is driven to undertake a hazardous expedition to a mountain glacier to discover the whereabouts of a mythical ‘dragon’; a probable dinosaur skeleton embedded beneath the ice. He gathers together...
Into the void

Into the void

Walk without thinking. We have left colour behind. Everything is grey, even the green of the lichen. The path, bordered by slopes running with stones, climbs from the bottom of an immense furrow. If the mountain wanted to lure us into a trap, this is exactly how it would go about it. Or think about...
Deciding not to die

Deciding not to die

Increasingly frequently, when out in the street, I run into people I know, but when I go to kiss them I remember they’re dead and realize to my horror that I’m about to kiss a doppelganger. It’s pretty unsettling, having to stop yourself saying hello to the dead. “Hi Régine!” “Excuse me?” “You’re… you’re not...
Coming in and going out

Coming in and going out

Plague diary, 29 March 2020. I’m reading about one of the biggest icebergs in history, “a tabular iceberg” in Antarctica, which was “more than 31,000 km2”. “Significantly larger than Belgium,” they add. I read that another giant iceberg, a sort of island 61 metres thick, “took seventeen years to be mapped.” I start studying bunkers,...
Our Lady in peril

Our Lady in peril

Of the night of the fire I remember a kaleidoscope of images, a collision of emotions, in quick succession. Through my kitchen window seeing bright-yellow plumes of smoke coiling into the sky, then rushing down the stairs onto quai de la Tournelle, standing right opposite Notre-Dame’s south rose window, the red and orange tongues of...
A good lie

A good lie

“Excuse me?” Her voice unnerved me a little. It also scared me. First I heard the surprise in it, and then the touch of indignation. I disregarded her tone. She shouldn’t see the flaws. My fright, for example, and my inner doubts. If she noticed those, there was no chance. I explained again, as clearly...