“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Posts tagged "France"
F. Scott Fitzgerald bathes in the light on the French Riviera

F. Scott Fitzgerald bathes in the light on the French Riviera

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s (1896–1940) literary brilliance as the witty and worldly-wise chronicler of the Jazz Age and his youthful, suntanned good looks were regularly commented on during his heyday in the 1920s. Later, in the light of what followed, they were recalled in sorrow, anger and disappointment. By the time the writer died in Hollywood...
Down on Disneyland

Down on Disneyland

DOMED BLUE CEILING, a phantom ocean. The Little Mermaid hangs from a wire, waving her hands in greeting, her tail swishing sinuously in her wake. Her stomach bulges from the harness beneath her bodysuit. Down on the ground, visitors brandish cameras, contorting themselves to keep her in their sights. A puff of smoke and Triton,...
White desire

White desire

Weary and defeated, I collapse onto the damp floor of my cell and think about those people who swarmed the seas like repellent jellyfish and heaved themselves up onto foreign shores. They were interviewed in half-hidden, half-open offices on the outskirts of the city. It was my job, and that of many others, to interpret...
The truth about lies

The truth about lies

My novel Berlin features a so-called unreliable narrator. Daphne misleads the reader, lies to others and to herself. Early readers have pegged her as a toxic compulsive liar. But I don’t think she is exceptionally unreliable. Instead, I believe fictional characters and real people tend to exaggerate the extent to which they are honest with...
Truth or dare

Truth or dare

My name is Fatima Daas. I write stories so I don’t have to live my own. I’m twelve years old when I go on a school trip to Budapest. Everyone gathers in the evening to go over the itinerary. Right after dinner, in a big room where there’s no network. Impossible to connect to MSN...
Samira Sedira: The makings of a murder

Samira Sedira: The makings of a murder

French-Algerian author and actress Samira Sedira’s People Like Them, her first novel to be translated into English, is a fictional retelling of a real-life multiple murder in a mountain village in Haute-Savoie, in which a recently arrived wealthy black property developer, his white wife and their three young children were brutally killed by a neighbour....
Runaways and free spirits

Runaways and free spirits

“Every landscape needs a figure in it, perhaps especially a figure that is only intermittently visible, that is mysterious and alert,” observes a gardener in Jane Smiley’s The Strays of Paris who spies a beautiful racehorse roaming freely in the middle of the French capital. The racehorse is Paras (short for Perestroika). She became a...
Journeys of the mind

Journeys of the mind

From the strange workings of the brain, life in a care home in France, to the privileged girls of a boarding school in America via a trip to Bosnia to face up to the past, there is plenty for you to lose yourself in as 2021 cranks into gear. With Delphine de Vigan a cult...
The woman of the wolf

The woman of the wolf

Narrated by M. Pierre Lenoir, 69, rue des Dames, Paris. I do not know why I undertook to court that woman. She was neither beautiful, nor pretty, nor even agreeable. As for myself (and I say this without conceit, dear ladies), there are those who have not been indifferent to me. It is not that...
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...