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Summer Reads: Fiction

Dear readers,

What should you be reading this summer? No matter where you’re vacationing, and relaxing, or commuting this summer it is always nice to have a book in your hand. We have a list for French literature lovers looking for something new during these warm months ranging from comics all the way to erudite novels and essays. To keep up to date with the summer list and to support your favorite books follow @FrenchBooksUSA and #frenchsummerreads


Fiction Novels 

1. Mathias Énard, CompassNew Directions 2017, translated by Charlotte Mandell (Boussole, Actes Sud 2015)
Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, takes to his bed with an unspecified illness and spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, revisiting his fascination with the Middle East, and the various writers, artists, musicians, academics, orientalists, and explorers who populate this dreamscape. Énard who won the most prestigious literary award, the Goncourt prize for this title will be in the US in the fall


2. Camille Laurens, Who You Think I amOther Press 2017, translated by Adriana Hunter (Celle que vous croyez, Gallimard 2016)
A psychological thriller that dissects online relationships and indicts the way society perceives women in contrast to men. Claire Millecam, a forty-eight-year-old teacher and divorcée, creates a fake social media profile to keep tabs on Joe, her occasional, elusive, and inconstant lover. Laurens will be in the US in September


3. Laurent Binet, The Seventh Function of Language, Penguin 2017, translated by Sam Taylor (La Septième Fonction du langage, Grasset 2015) 
In this meta-fiction novel, Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a chase that takes them from the corridors of power to backstreet saunas and midnight rendezvous on a quest to find out who killed Roland Barthes. What they discover is a worldwide conspiracy involving the President, murderous Bulgarians and a secret international debating society. In this whodunnit without a crime, one of the characters strongly (and rightly) begins to suspect he is a character in a novel.


4. Marie Ndiaye, My Heart Hemmed InTwo Lines Press, 2017, translated by Jordan Stump (Mon Cœur à l'étroit, Gallimard)
Two teachers, Nadia and her husband, Ange, find themselves suddenly and bizarrely being treated “like wretched dogs” in the streets of their small community. And it keeps getting worse: a strange wound develops on Ange’s stomach, and an elderly neighbor inexplicably forces Nadia to let him into their apartment to take care of him. Winner of the Goncourt prize in 2009, Marie Ndiaye is one the most famous female voice in France.


5. Hervé Guibert, Crazy for Vincent, Semiotexte, 2017, translated by Christine Pichini  (Fou de Vincent, Éditions de Minuit 1989)
By turns tender and violent, Vincent, a skateboarding, drug-addled, delicate “monster” of a boy in whom the narrator finds a most sublime beauty, drops in and out of writer and photographer Hervé Guibert’s life. After Vincent’s senseless death, the narrator embarks on a reconnaissance writing mission to retrieve the man that has entered, elevated, and emotionally eviscerated his life.


Non-Fiction Summer Reads
Kids Summer Reads
Graphic Novels Summer Reads