Thursday, 12 July 2012

Pierre Chazal : MARCUS


Août 2012, 342 pages

(English presentation to come)


Que faire d’un père qui est un salaud ? L’effacer, le tuer, lui pardonner ? La réponse, Pierrot la trouvera en élevant Marcus le petit garçon dont il a la charge. Premier roman de Pierre Chazal, Marcus raconte dans un style naturaliste et puissant la saga des sans-voix.

Hélène, toxicomane, confie son fils à son meilleur ami avant de se suicider. Pierrot, la trentaine, hésite devant une telle responsabilité. Marcus n’a pas dix ans et lui se lève aux aurores pour travailler sur les marchés du Nord. Mais toute la bande d’amis avec qui il fit les quatre cents coups se porte volontaire pour l’aider à s’occuper de l’enfant. Dès lors, Pierrot l’écorché au cœur tendre se met à croire que le bonheur est à portée de main, même si son propre père n’a su lui donner que des coups. C’est compter sans les affres du destin qui le conduisent, lui l’innocent, la victime, en préventive pour homicide. À l’intérieur des murs, la survie s’organise. Dehors, Marcus l’attend.

Pierre Chazal est né en 1977. Il a étudié et vécu à Lille, puis en Angleterre, avant de revenir s’installer à Paris. Il y enseigne depuis deux ans le français Langue étrangère. Il consacre son temps libre à l’écriture et la musique.

Mathias Enard : RUE DES VOLEURS


Septembre 2012, 256 pages

(English presentation to come)

Avoir vingt ans à l'heure du Printemps arabe, parler le français des romans de série noire, servir avec inquiétude les Frères musulmans, placer la liberté plus haut que la religion, séduire une jeune Barcelonaise et, de Tanger, contempler le mince détroit par où gagner ce qui semble le jardin des délices…
Né en 1972, Mathias Énard a étudié le persan et l’arabe et fait de longs séjours au Moyen-Orient. Il vit à Barcelone.
Il est l’auteur de cinq romans : LA PERFECTION DU TIR (2003, prix des Cinq Continents de la francophonie), REMONTER L'ORENOQUE (2005), ZONE (2008, prix Décembre, prix du Livre Inter), PARLE-LEUR DE BATAILLES, DE ROIS ET D'ELEPHANTS (2010, prix Goncourt des Lycéens, prix du Livre en Poitou-Charentes 2011) et RUE DES VOLEURS (2012).
Il a également écrit BREVIAIRE DES ARTIFICIERS (2007) et L'ALCOOL ET LA NOSTALGIE(2011).

Alice Dekker : CHARDIN, LA PETITE TABLE DE LAQUE ROUGE


Septembre 2012, 120 pages

(English presentation to come)

Au soir de sa vie, alors qu’il prépare l’une de ses dernières expositions au Salon, Jean Siméon Chardin, peintre du silence et de la pudeur, consent à se dévoiler.

Dans une confession à son fils, le peintre de La Raie et de L’Enfant au toton, qui n’eut pas son pareil pour révéler la beauté présente dans les choses les plus humbles, revient sur les œuvres qui lui ont valu sa renommée.
De toile en toile, le maître de la nature morte, pour qui le réel était une vérité suffisante, retrace sa carrière, donnant aussi à voir les doutes de l’artiste et les faiblesses de l’homme. Reconnu aujourd’hui comme un avant-gardiste, Chardin fut considéré par certains de ses contemporains comme un peintre marginal, voire mineur.
C’est également à une promenade dans le monde artistique du XVIIIe siècle qu’Alice Dekker nous invite, dans ce deuxième texte publié LES GLORIEUSES RESURRECTIONS, son premier roman paru en 2008.

Marc Durin-Valois : LA DERNIERE NUIT DE CLAUDE EATHERLY



August 2012, 352 pages


            This intense, psychological novel features a pilot who participated in the bombing of Hiroshima and was profoundly traumatized by the experience, and a reporter who is both obsessed with the pilot and muzzled by the media. It plunges us straight into the Cold War era, and the first ravages of nuclear power.

Texas, 1949. Rose Martha Calter is a young photo-journalist whose job is to take pictures of local new stories for a few papers based in Texas. On one of her assignments, she learns about the existence of a certain Claude Eatherly, who, four years earlier, had been one of the pilots for the air convoy that  dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.

Eatherly, who is initially reticent to discuss the subject, eventually declines into petty crime and short stays in a psychiatric ward. He is constantly proclaiming his overwhelming sense of guilt about having participated in killing all those civilians. He leaves Rose a written document of several pages of confession and repentance.

But in the middle of the Cold War, no one wants to hear this dissident interpretation of the American victory. Because of her obsession with Eatherly, Rose will spend her life trying to prove the pilot’s sincerity, without ever managing to definitively establish to what extent the charismatic man had truly been affected by the experience and to what extent he was simply trying to take advantage of his 15 minutes of fame.

Subtle, sincere and profound, this novel dissects the traumatisms, obsessions and strengths of master manipulators. A unique point of view on the problems of the last century.

            A journalist, Marc Durin-Valois is the author of several novels that were loved by both the public and the critics, including: NOIR PROPHÈTE (2006), L’EMPIRE DES SOLITUDES (2003) and CHAMELLE (2002; adapted for the cinema). The author has received nearly a dozen literary awards, including the Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie and the Prix National Culture et Bibliothèques.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Livres Hebdo on the forthcoming French literary season

In its feature article on the forthcoming Fall's literary season, the French professional magazine of the book industry Livres Hebdo examines the literary trends and topics that have emerged from the 600+ titles soon to be published (Livres Hebdo number 916, June 29 2012, pp. 82-87):

With its traditionally generational novels, its questioning on the couple, its dive into family affairs and its mise-en-abîme of the creation or retranscription of social reality, the 2012 production presents all the great themes that spice up a literary season by analysing our society. Indeed, French fiction is getting more and more irrigated by reality and is trying to tell our contemporary world. Several novels yet distance themselves thanks to the originality of their themes.

 
Livres Hebdo further identifies that:

Writers use fiction to slide into the lives of historical figures or to take over unknown characters.

Agence de l’Est will be concentrating on offering titles in the latter category, novels that present the extraordinary lives and grey areas of historical figures:


The story as seen from the eyes of Drypteis, Hephaestion’s widow, who accompanies Alexander the Great’s body after his death, and of the generals who fight over Alexander's body to take his place.
Warning: this is not a historic novel; this is the continuation of a legend, retelling Drypteis’ story at the time in which she disappears from known history.


 
The life and work of the great Czech mathematician Kurt Gödel, as told by his wife Adele years after his death to a young academic, Anna, whose life will be changed in the process. The epic life of a genius who never learned how to live, and of a woman who only knew how to love.
It is already expected to be one of this Fall’s biggest hits, as said in this article from the French daily Le Figaro last week.


The pilot of one of the meteorological reconnaissance planes which led the way of the atomic bomber towards Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.




At the end of his life, while preparing one of his last exhibitions, Jean Siméon Chardin unveils himself in a moving letter to his son.




 




 
Another noticeable trend that Livres Hebdo highlights is that:

It is also what happened during the past year that finds an echo in the imagination of this literary season’s authors.

 
The following is an example taken from the article:

The international turmoil can be found in Mathias Énard’s novel; the specialist of the Arabic world and of the Middle-East wondered through the characters of RUE DES VOLEURS what it meant to be twenty years old in the times of the Arab Spring.


 


The last part of the article deals with those novelists who have written theatre plays:

The stage is the novelist’s new territory. Four plays written by novelists will be both published and staged in the Fall.


Livres Hebdo focuses on four of them: Emmanuelle Pireyre, Amanda Sthers, Laurent Seksik and Laurent Mauvignier.


As far as debuts are concerned (69 first novels are to be published between the end of August and October):

These novelists’ favourite subjects are family, insanity, culture and new technologies as agents of the transformation of society.

 
Agence de l’Est offers some of them:

Before killing herself, Hélène leaves her ten-year-old son in Pierrot’s care. At first he hesitates, confronted by such an unexpected responsibility; but his group of friends do their best to help him raise the child. What follows brings Pierrot to finally believe in happiness.





 
The touching story of a family of puppetteers' journey across Europe spanning three generations, between the 19th and 20th centuries. A story that speaks for all those who struggle with the passing times and our ever-changing world.



 

 
And last but not least:

The prize of the longest novel will no doubt be awarded to Sylvie Taussig’s 1,776 pages of DANS LES PLIS SINUEUX DES VIEILLES CAPITALES, published by Galaade.


Sylvie Taussig

On Culturebox, the blog owned by francetv.fr, the website of the group of national TV channels France Télévisions, Anne Brigaudeau writes:

The longest novel of the literary season, DANS LES PLIS SINEUX DES VIEILLES CAPITALES by Sylvie Taussig, is published by a small publishing house of quality, Galaade.

How do they justify such a courageous choice? “We’ve had this novel for five years, says the publishing house. This is a monstrous piece of work where everything converges and a very original style.”

Born in 1969, the author is the translator of the philosopher Hannah Arendt’s works and a researcher at the Centre National d’Etudes Scientifiques (CNRS). Galaade sends to lazy critics an exciting “booklet with the synopsis included” that gives you the itch to dive into this sprawling novel on Paris, a worldly and thousand-year-old city.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Laurent Gaudé: POUR SEUL CORTEGE

Already hailed as one the 10 must-read novels of this year’s literary season in Livres-Hebdo :

Septembre 2012, 176 pages


            A funeral procession that can’t stop, a stolen body, and a final battle, fought with honor by the Emperor’s most faithful generals: Laurent Gaudé has woven an imaginative tale of the last days of Alexander the Great.

After his victory at Persepolis, Alexander the Great returns victoriously to Babylon, where he celebrates for days on end. But, weakened by the hardships of battle, he is overcome with a terrible pain in his stomach, and falls down in a faint. He hovers between life and death for several days.

Thus begins a parade of generals, and, as soon as Alexander is pronounced dead, a bitter struggle for power. Only a few generals stay true, and head off to fight a final battle against the deceased emperor’s greatest enemy. Although they know it’s a lost cause, they do it to honor his memory.

Meanwhile, Drypteis, Alexander’s sister-in-law, follows the funeral procession, joining the wailing women mourners for months on end. In this way, Drypteis – who gave up her son, the heir to the throne, in order to protect him from the jealousy of those who covet power – hopes to obtain the protection of the Emperor. And Alexander does in fact speak to her. She is the only one who can hear his voice, which orders her to free his body and take it far away from the tomb planned for him, where he believes he will feel trapped. Drypteis manages to discreetly spirit the body away, thus liberating Alexander. But, having lost her own will to live, she swallows a poison that renders her semi-conscious. She is not dead, but is able only to bear witness by describing everything she sees. Keeping watch over her son, she becomes an eyewitness to Alexander’s last battle, the one his faithful generals fight in his name, since the Emperor can’t die.

A magnificent tale that immerses us in a mystical and sacred world and, thanks to the writing style, brings the thought and lyricism of the Age of Alexander back to life.

            Laurent Gaudé, novelist, short-story writer and playwright, was born in 1972. His most notable books include LA MORT DU ROI TSONGOR (2002 Goncourt des lycéens Prize; 2003 Libraires Prize) and LE SOLEIL DES SCORTA (2004 Goncourt Prize and Jean-Giono Prize).

~~~~~~
Alexandre le Grand va mourir. Qui lui succédera à la tête du royaume ? Qui perpétuera l’insatiable esprit de conquête qui l’a animé ? Qui saura apaiser son âme ?
Après avoir combattu et soumis les Grecs, les Phéniciens, les Égyptiens et les Perses, après avoir mené son armée jusqu’à l’Indus, Alexandre de Macédoine est de retour à Babylone, d’où il prépare de nouvelles expéditions et rêve à de prochaines conquêtes. Lors d’une soirée de fête, il est terrassé par une terrible fièvre qui s’installe et s’aggrave. Alexandre va mourir, mais il ne le sait pas, il ne le veut pas. Ses généraux se pressent autour de lui, redoutant la fin et préparant déjà la suite.
Dryptéis, fille de Darius, héritière de la dynastie achéménide et veuve d’Héphaistion – com­pagnon d’armes et meilleur ami d’Alexandre –, s’est retirée du monde pour protéger son jeune fils des vicissitudes que lui promettait son ascendance royale. C’est pourtant elle que le destin appelle et choisit pour accompagner Alexandre dans son dernier voyage.
Un autre personnage approche de Babylone au grand galop, c’est Ericléops, envoyé par Alexandre vers le lointain Orient pour défier le souverain indien Dhana Nanda. Il est de retour de mission, il arrive aussi vite qu’il le peut car peut-être son message est-il de nature à infléchir le cours des choses.
Tandis que les diadoques se partagent le royaume et salissent la mémoire de leur maître par l’expression violente de leurs rivalités, les fidèles les plus inattendus vont rendre à Alexandre l’hommage qu’il mérite et apaiser son âme : la douloureuse Dryptéis, Ericléops qu’on n’attendait plus, Af-Ashra l’enfant de l’Indu-Kuch et quelques autres…
Le devoir et l’ambition, l’amour et la loyauté, le deuil et l’errance mènent les personnages vers ce qui doit advenir, avec une puissance tragique qui se mêle ici au rêve et même au fantastique. Laurent Gaudé renoue avec le souffle épique qui a fait son succès et s’empare d’une figure qui le fascine depuis toujours pour prolonger son aventure. Qu’est-ce qu’un héros ? Un homme qui a accompli de hauts faits, un demi-dieu qui ne meurt jamais. Et de cette éternité il peut rendre grâce à ses exploits réels mais aussi – mais surtout – à tous les autres que lui ont prêtés au fil des siècles les artistes et les poètes qui, en complétant son histoire, participent à sa légende. L’Alexandre de Laurent Gaudé n’est jamais si grand que dans la mort, de même que l’Histoire n’est jamais si belle que transfigurée par la poésie du mythe.
Romancier, nouvelliste et dramaturge né en 1972, Laurent Gaudé est notamment l’auteur de CRIS (2001), LA MORT DU ROI TSONGOR (2002, prix Goncourt des lycéens 2002, prix des Libraires 2003), LE SOLEIL DES SCORTA (2004, prix Goncourt 2004, prix Jean-Giono 2004), ELDORADO (2006), DANS LA NUIT MOZAMBIQUE (2007), A PORTE DES ENFERS (2008), OURAGAN (2010) et LES OLIVIERS DU NEGUS (2011).

Friday, 6 July 2012

Eric Kerjean: CANARIS


February 2012, 240 pages

A new and original biography of one of the most troubling figures of the 3rd Reich, Wilhelm Canaris, Hitler’s master spy from 1935 to 1944. A controversial work that puts an end to the myth of Canaris the resistant.
There are few men whose career path is more shadowed with ambiguity than that of Admiral Wilhelm Franz Canaris. To some he seemed the perfect Nazi, determined and loyal, for others the very incarnation of German resistance to Hitler. Where does the true story lie?
A convinced Nazi, close associate of Heydrich, as head of the Abwehr Canaris turned the Reich’s military intelligence unit into a formidable and strategically indispensable part of the war machine—both long previous to the war and during it. And yet the admiral simultaneously became known, from 1941 on, as one of the guardian figures of the resistance in the German armed forces. Though he never actively intervened in resistance projects, the Abwehr chief was always informed of its objectives.

Through a thorough re-examination of the archives, Eric Kerjean reveals that the genius of counter-espionage allowed his intelligence service to become a hotbed of resistance the better to control it. Master of a double game, he participated in the resistance as a mole would in an enemy group, manipulating it in order to prevent its actions. Contrary to the popularly-accepted view that Canaris was a traitor to Hitler, he was in reality his finest servant and his greatest protector.
Lies, dissimulation and treason, this is an essay that reads like a spy novel.
With a doctorate in history, Eric Kerjean is a specialist on the 3rd Reich and civil and military intelligence.

François Kersaudy: HITLER



May 2011, 240 pages

A biography of Hitler concentrating upon his role as a war leader, by acclaimed historian Kersaudy. With an abundance of illustrations, many of them heretofore unpublished.

Hitler was a strange autodidact gifted with an extraordinary memory, an unshakeable will, unlimited confidence in his own intuition and a complete absence of scruple.

His officers often predicted disaster, and for a long while, they were wrong. Faced with divided, demoralized, and poorly-led enemies who were ill-equipped, their materiel often obsolete, Hitler’s blitzkrieg obliterated everything in its path, stunningly reinforcing his own faith in his military genius. His own generals no longer dared counter his decisions, even the craziest ones.

Hitler let ideology color his strategy, thus he allowed himself to be blinded by his own propensity to perceive his wishes as reality. After six years of merciless war, the facts had to be faced: Hitler would lose this war without ever having understood or admitted the entirety of his errors. Kersaudy invites the reader to follow this ascension and the equally dizzying fall, in a work where illustration and narrative are intimately combined.

François Kersaudy is a remarkable biographer, uncontested specialist of the Second World War, and author of several related biographies, including De Gaulle et Churchill, De Gaulle et Roosevelt, L’Affaire Cicéron and Goering. His biography of Winston Churchill was awarded four prizes, including one for political biography. He is also the translator of Churchill’s MEMOIRS of the Second World War.

François Kersaudy: STALINE




May 2012, 264 pages

After HITLER and PATTON, here is the third volume of the «Masters of War» series which offers a portrait of Joseph Stalin, a biography that concentrates on his role as a war leader, presented with abundant illustrations.

            In this original work, concentrating exclusively upon Stalin’s strategy and his role during the Second World War, François Kersaudy traces the very rudimentary military training of the conspirator and revolutionary who became the dictator Stalin, leading to his ascension as Vierkhovny, the supreme chief of the Red Army. Based upon contemporary accounts, photos, maps and documents of the era, the author takes us to the heart of the Soviet war machine and demonstrates how remarkable powers of organization, memory, and intelligence coupled with a devastating capacity to intimidate and the collaboration of a few extraordinarily talented career officers of the military transformed an amateur into, not just a war marshal, but one who led his troops to victory.

            François Kersaudy is well known as an uncontested specialist on the Second World War, author of DE GAULLE ET CHURCHILL, DE GAULLE ET ROOSEVELT, and L’AFFAIRE CICÉRON. A talented biographer, his works on Churchill and Goering have been widely critically acclaimed. His HITLER, part of the « Maîtres de Guerre » series, is being translated into Chinese and Czech.

Edina Bozoky: ATTILA ET LES HUNS


 April 2012, 323 pages
Attila is the embodiment of barbarian ferocity. The fear of the Other, the enemy who sweeps down over Europe, crystallized for centuries the image of Attila and the Huns, feeding imaginations with the wildest images of terror. At last, here is a work that simply and clearly distinguishes between truth and legend.
A historian and medievalist, herself Hungarian, Edina Bozoky specializes in the history of medieval legends and beliefs. She is a lecturer in medieval history at the Université de Poitiers and a member of the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de Civilisation Mediévales. She is also director of the “Medieval Culture and Society” collection at Editions Brepols. She has published several works, most recently Le Livre secret des Cathares, Interrogatio Iohannis (2009) and Le Moyen Âge miraculeux (2010).

Pierre Racine: MARCO POLO ET SES VOYAGES



February 2012, 456 pages

A fascinating plunge into the exotic universe of the Asia of the great Khans presented by Marco Polo in his THE DESCRIPTION OF THE WORLD, the work that strongly influenced the West’s knowledge and perception of the world opening up to the East.
We know very little about Marco Polo, but his book, THE DESCRIPTION OF THE WORLD, reveals how a simple Venitian merchant transformed himself into an explorer. Most important, this text was the determining element that shaped the West’s knowledge of Asia at the time. 
Pierre Racine, the great specialist of the 13th century, has taken on the ambitious task of deciphering this text that first appeared in 1298. Attributed to Marco Polo, it was actually the fruit of a collaborative effort with a man named Rustichello. THE DESCRIPTION, also entitled IL MILIONE OR THE BOOK OF WONDERS, told the story of Marco Polo’s voyages with his father and his uncle to Asia, where he stayed for seventeen years. The highlight of these oriental adventures was his entry into the court of the great Kubla Khan and his role as ambassador from the Asian potentate to Pope Gregory X.
Basing his interpretations on the original text as well as all of the versions, translations, writings and commentaries it inspired, Pierre Racine distinguishes between the wonder of the traveller at the discovery of an exotic and unknown world and the places and events he chose to enrich this great descriptive panorama. In conclusion, Racine explores the repercussions of the international distribution of this unprecedented work which would ultimately inspire so many future explorers, among them Christopher Columbus.
Pierre Racine is a professor emeritus of medieval history at the Université Marc-Bloch of Strasbourg and member of the Institut Lombard. He has written numerous articles for specialized reviews and is the author of FRÉDÉRIC BARBEROUSSE: 1152-1190 (2009) and LES VILLES D’ITALIE, DU MILIEU DU XIIE SIÈCLE AU MILIEU DU XIVE SIÈCLE (2004).

Henri Troyat: GONTCHAROV


May 2012, 216 pages

GONTCHAROV is the last biography which Henri Troyat dedicated to the Great Russian writers of the 19th century.

The author of the literary monument OBLOMOV certainly is less known than Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky or Chekhov. But in his country he is considered as equal to them, thanks to that book which made him popular to all Russians.

In 1847 Ivan Goncharov publishes his first novel, A COMMON STORY, and begins to write his masterpiece OBLOMOV which will be published in 1859. He will need ten years to write it. He works as a highly placed official for the Ministry of public education and later as an agent for the Ministry of Finance for which he has to build up the first commercial contacts with Japan.

For that very purpose he embarks a frigate and relates his adventures in THE FRIGATE PALLAS, a sociological an ethnographical document unique for its time. His work contains essays, critics, portraits, short novels, fairytales, poems and translations (Schiller, Goethe), critical analysis’s (Balzac, Zola, Flaubert, les Goncourt, Lemontov). He is one of the founders of the Russian realistic novel and a master of positive realism.

Henry Troyat died in 2007. He was born in Russiain 1911 and followed his parents at the moment of the Russian Revolution in 1917 in order to settle in Franceand study there, before becoming one of the most productive French authors. He received the Prix Goncourt in 1938 for his second novel L’ARAIGNÉE. He was elected member of the Académie française in 1959.

Laure Adler: SIMONE WEIL L'INSOUMISE



February 2012, 272 pages

A key figure in understanding the 20th century, not only for her writings about capitalism, totalitarian states and trade unions, but also for her actual life, Simone Weil was not satisfied with merely thinking about the world, she actually felt it every convulsions. An inspired and fervent text, SIMONE WEIL L'INSOUMISE is a magnificent introduction to one of the most noted figures of our time. It is illustrated by some 20 photographs, most of which are previously unpublished and were entrusted to Laure Adler by the Simone Weil’s estate.
Laure Adler is a journalist and writer who has presented a number of debates and literary talk shows for radio and television. She was director of France-Culture for six years (national radio station). She has also written a number of fiction and non-fiction books including: DANS LES PAS DE HANNAH ARENDT (2005), A CE SOIR (2001), MARGUERITE DURAS (1998) and L’ANNEE DES ADIEUX (1995).

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Giorgio Vasta: IL TEMPO MATERIALE


October 2008, 311 pages
Palermo, Sicily, 1978: a trio of eleven-year-old boys avidly follow the news of party leader Aldo Moro's abduction. In their minds the Red Brigades are warriors come to cure Italian people from their apathy. While living ordinary lives with their parents, they start planning terroristic attacks, and end up kidnapping and killing a schoolmate. Only the narrator's love for a young girl his age might offer him some redemption.
Giorgio Vasta's debut novel portrays the loss of innocence of a whole country as well as narrating an impossible love story.
After the successful sales to France (Gallimard), Germany (DVA), USA (FSG), UK (Faber and Faber), the Netherlands (Wereldbibliotheek), Czech Republic (Euromedia) and Spain (Random House Mondadori), rights to the internationally awarded novel by Giorgio Vasta IL TEMPO MATERIALE were recently sold to Hungary (Harmattan Kiado).
                Giorgio Vasta was born in Palermo in 1970. He lives and works in Turin. He is the editor and contributor of several anthologies. IL TEMPO MATERIALE is his first novel.

“The most impressive Italian debut novel in years” L'Unità
“Vasta is the worthy heir of Leonardo Sciascia” Satisfiction
“Il tempo materiale is, without question, one of the most important novels to emerge in Italy in the past ten years” Time Literay Supplement
“Il tempo materiale by Giorgio Vasta is first in the chart of quality fiction” Corriere della sera
“An impressingly mature and sophisticated debut novel” Le Monde

Lyonel Trouillot: LA BELLE AMOUR HUMAINE

August 2011, 170 pages
  • Short-listed for the Prix Goncourt 2011
  • Rights sold to Spain and Croatia (Alfa-ZG)
“Did I use my presence in this world fairly?” Trouillot’s new novel asks.

A young western woman, Anaïse, is heading to a small coastal village in Haiti with Thomas, her guide. There she hopes to pick up her father’s trail and finally clear up the mystery of her grandfather’s tragic disappearance.
But Thomas warns her that she might have to give up on such investigations, as the world she will experience is filled with otherness and the joyful dead, a world where laws can be flexible. She will discover a land where the human condition has to reinvent itself indefinitely to face the ferocious appetites of those who claim ownership of a world that belongs to all. Lyonel Trouillot masterfully questions the quirks of fate that make people white or black, powerful or miserable, placing them in the north or south, here or elsewhere. Lyonel Trouillot tells his island through a family affair.
A novelist and a poet, an intellectual and a fervent player on the international French-speaking scene, the author was born in 1956 in Port-au-Prince, where he still lives. His work is published by Editions Actes Sud and his latest novel, YANVALOU POUR CHARLIE, received the Prix Wepler in 2009.
“A humanist and political tale from the masterful Haitian writer Lyonel Trouillot” Livres Hebdo
“Lyonel Trouillot continues to paint the desperate contrasts of his martyred native land in words.” Livres Hebdo

René Laporte: HOTEL DE LA SOLITUDE

 

May 2012, 128 pages


Under the German occupation, Jérôme Bourdaine settles into a hotel nestled above Monte Carlo. The tale draws us into this quaint haven peopled with ghosts and frequented by a Russian immigrant and his wife, whom Jérôme is not indifferent to. A novel bathed in a dreamlike haze, as if outside the real world. 
Written in 1942, HOTEL DE LA SOLITUDE takes us on the tracks of Jérôme Bourdaine, a shining post-war light cavalry officer, who retreats to the singular Hotel de la Turbie on the Riviera to pursue his reverie. Cut off from the rest of the world, this timeless refuge with Quranic calligraphy adorning the walls, this product of the mind, was run by a sweet bustling couple, the Barcas, happy to invoke richly-coloured shadows from the past, ghosts of 1900 who were the glory of the hotel. Into the heart of this daytime institution for lost hearts enters Zoya Sernitche, a beautiful woman accompanied by her comical husband, jittery like a bat. It’s the start of a love affair between Jérôme and Zoya among the antique ruins that decorate the place. A ballet of weary shadows and spirited hearts that evaporate in the morning, a short-lived romance.
Born in Toulouse in 1905, René Laporte is drawn to literature from a very early age. A great admirer of Apollinaire and the Surrealists, he founded the magazine Cahiers Libres and the publishing house of the same name. Both a poet and a novelist, he won the Prix Interallié in 1936 for LES CHASSES DE NOVEMBRE. He wrote in clandestine magazines and turned away from Surrealism in favour of political poetry. He was barely forty-eight when he died of an accident in March 1954.

Yolaine Destremau: NUMEROS MASQUES

 

May 2012, 176 pages


            The captivating story of a woman who gets caught up in an absurd quest for a missing Picasso painting; pouring her life and savings into the search, she slowly descends into madness.
Sorting through his papers after the death of her father, Ingrid stumbles across a photo of a portrait of her grandmother painted by Picasso. Convinced that the painting must have been sold on the black market, she gradually becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking it down.
So Ingrid decides to quit her job as a professor of philosophy, sell her apartment and hire a private eye on the down and out. She winds up spending the last of her savings on a trip to the United States to meet with an expert painting hunter, Luis Selinonte. Along the way, having turned into something of a kleptomaniac, she steals one of Picasso’s sketchbooks from a museum.
Ingrid manages to seduce Selinonte, but he doesn’t turn out to be of much use in her quest. Finally, worn out and broke, sleeping in a train station with the homeless people, she decides to give up, and to sell the notebook on the black market.
The last time we see Ingrid, she is stumbling along a beach in Miami, trembling, clutching her bag and mumbling like a madwoman... until she gets mugged by a man who knocks her out and makes off with the bag in which she kept the famous sketchbook.
Fascinating, absurd and touching, this novel uses the art world as a backdrop for a subtle and skillful portrait of a woman hittin rock bottom.
            Yolaine Destremau has been a painter and a literary translator. She now devotes herself to her writing, and is the author of WHITE NOISE, JOURS DE SOUFFRANCE, ORTIZ, CELLE QUI TRIOMPHE and L'OMBRE DES JARACANDAS.