A review of Laurent Mauvignier’s The Birthday Party
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Very few of Duras’s works have remained untranslated for so long, which poses the obvious question of why. Was the delay simply a product of happenstance? Or is this early novel not very good?
When Paris’ infamous museum of anatomical pathology closed its doors in 2016, a controversial collection disappeared from view.
Like Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping or Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, Emmanuel Carrère’s Yoga has the merit of not living up to the promise of its title.
Fatima Daas’s The Last One is an autobiographical novel that presents an original and complex exploration of identity. A portrait of the protagonist, also called Fatima Daas, emerges through a series of vignettes that jump across time but take us ultimately from her childhood to her twenty-ninth birthday.
Missouri Williams’s debut novel, The Doloriad, is a wild and wholly original contribution to the growing genre of climate fiction. With its rich prose, dark humour and unsettling concentration on the very worst aspects of humankind, it’s a novel that is likely to split opinion.
I slept in Jane’s bed three months before I met her. She was nameless Jane the first time, plain Jane the second, a cruel half-smile on Jack’s lips who supplied this and only this and little else, leaving me reading the rest in the spines on the bookshelves and the herbal tea selection by the kettle.
Valérie Rouzeau’s Pas revoir (1999) is a collection of poetry written shortly after the death of her father.
Over the last forty years, contemporary French poetry has been living in a state of crisis. Pronounced dead – or worse, irrelevant – it has sought to reassert its value, define its current specificity, and delineate its difference from the poetic practices of the past.
If any twentieth-century French poet invites a methodical, quasi-mathematical approach to their work, it is Raymond Queneau, co-founder of the Oulipo and author of the proto-algorithmic Cent mille milliards de poèmes (1961).