French Literature

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Uncommon Translations: Emma Ramadan Interviewed by Kyle Paoletta
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On translating avant garde and genderless literature.

Something Like Hope: On Virginie Despentes’s Vernon Subutex 2 by Rebecca Rukeyser
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An eerily at peace coterie.

Two Things at Once: On Harry Mathews’ The Solitary Twin by J.W. McCormack
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The pleasures of literary play in the writer’s final novel.

An Approach by Roger Lewinter
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In An Approach, the sentence gradually evolves: word choices change subtly; phrases are introduced, transposed, or deleted; punctuation shifts and changes form. Through these shifts and disruptions, the text begins to accede to a nonlinear logic, through which we can glimpse “the unspoken, which is its subject, between the words, through the words.”

Moby Dick in Hollywood—Orson Welles by Pierre Senges

Finally back in the fold of Hollywood—one imagines him advancing mistrustfully, mistrustfully looking up at the high and useless palm trees (an immoderation which serves no purpose: the palm trees “planted on both sides of the expressway in order to purge an already pure sky”).

Sacred Folly: on Romain Gary’s The Kites and Promise at Dawn by J.W. McCormack
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A rediscovered novel and memoir depict a character we are lucky to have on the page. In life he would mortify us.

Writing Anti-Stories: an Interview with Roberta Allen by John Zinsser
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“When we really like a book, it’s often because its rhythm is similar to our own—to our heartbeat, our breathing, the way we walk. I think that’s what draws us to certain writers and not to others even though we know they are great.”

Mathieu Lindon’s Learning What Love Means by Andrew Durbin
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It is both a memoir of Lindon’s literary friendships and a treatise on survival, a tribute to the friends whose care and love, in Lindon’s words, saved his life, even as they were themselves lost.

New York Diary by Édouard Louis
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The French writer Édouard Louis recorded his days in New York, around the time of the American release of his novel The End of Eddy. The following entries originally appeared in French in the June 6, 2017, edition of Les Inrockuptibles.

The Blue Note: on Noémi Lefebvre’s Blue Self-Portrait by Amanda DeMarco
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Female intelligence and female obsession, in the air

Anne Garréta’s Not One Day by Youmna Chlala

If the experimental French writing group Oulipo were to be reborn today, would they return as performance artists? Anne Garréta’s 2002 Prix Médicis–winning novel, Not One Day, marks her as a literary acrobat suspended between those who hold on to the group’s relevance and those who have let it go in favor of conceptual art practices.

Arrogant Class Renegade by Daniel Lefferts
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Sexual awakening amid poverty and violence in Édouard Louis’s The End of Eddy

Fast & Loose by Kyle Paoletta
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Earthquakes, rain of blood, and other fun things in Jean Echenoz’s We Three

Roger Lewinter’s Story of Love in Solitude and The Attraction of Things by K. Thomas Kahn
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These two slim volumes, which are somehow stories, memoirs, meditations, diaries, and novels all in one, operate as much at the level of the sentence as that of the story. 

Laia Jufresa by Valeria Luiselli
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The author’s first novel is set in Mexico City, but its themes of violence, grief, and solitude are truly global.

Abdellah Taïa by Georgia Phillips-Amos
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“I’m not influenced by literature. I find everything I need in the reality of life, in my place within that reality.”

Maylis de Kerangal by Jessica Moore

“The novel is a race, and I can see the finish line from the first sentence: it’s an intuition that magnetizes the entire text. The closer I get to the goal, the faster I want to go.”

Hosing Down the Slaughterhouse by Micaela Morrissette
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On Michel Houellebecq’s Submission

Guillaume Apollinaire’s Zone: Selected Poems, translated by Ron Padgett by Dylan Furcall
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One of the joys of reading Zone is discovering the utter range of Padgett’s stylings as both translator and poet.

Anne Garréta’s Sphinx, Translated by Emma Ramadan by Tyler Curtis
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Though she wouldn’t join the Oulipo for another fourteen years, Anne Garréta’s 1986 novel, Sphinx, is quintessentially Oulipian.

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