Written by Julia Deck | May 22, 2014
Viviane by Julia Deck, translated by Linda Coverdale, The New Press, May 2014

Les Éditions de Minuit, publisher of Marguerite Duras and Alain Robbe-Grillet, rarely publishes a debut novel. Jean Echenoz, current star of this revered French literary house and enthusiastic fan of Julia Deck, confesses that he didn’t send his first novel to Minuit because the publisher is “too demanding…too good for me.” Yet thirty years later, a first novel published by Minuit has gripped French readers and taken the literary world by storm.

Viviane is both an engrossing murder mystery and a narrative that tests the shifting boundaries of language and the self. For inspiration, Deck read the work of another Minuit star, Samuel Beckett, because, as she says, “he positions himself within chaos and gives it coherence.” This breakthrough novel, nominated for the Prix Femina, the Prix France Inter, and the Prix du Premier Roman, is sure to become a contemporary classic. Linda Coverdale, one of the most celebrated French translators working today, has created a faithful and propulsive English text that has been revised and approved by the author.

[Julia] Deck’s novel, which was widely lauded in France, complemented by [Linda] Coverdale’s unobtrusive translation, burrows deftly and unrelentingly into a troubled mind."
Publishers Weekly

"Written with a delirious and intimate urgency, Julia Deck's debut novel, Viviane, is a remarkable and troubling portrait of murder and madness. Bravo!"
—Lily Tuck, author of The News from Paraguay

"Viviane is a work of extraordinary passion, intelligence, and style. A beautifully controlled wild ride of a novel that will thrill readers to the point of vertigo."
—Sigrid Nunez, author of A Feather on the Breath of God

"Julia Deck . . . astonishes us with the tension between her limpid, polished style and the protean complexity of her narrative."
Le Magazine Littéraire

"Julia Deck now belongs to the most exclusive and prestigious family of French literature. . . .In the current literary landscape, her novel stands out and on its own."
Le Nouvel Observateur

"[A] masterfully conceived debut, a relentless tale, intricately and irresistibly told."
La Quinzaine Littéraire

Julia Deck was born in Paris in 1974, the daughter of a French father and a British mother. A graduate of the Sorbonne, she lives in Paris. This is her first novel. Linda Coverdale’s most recent translation for The New Press was Jean Echenoz’s 1914. She was the recipient of the French-American Foundation’s 2008 Translation Prize and the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She lives in Brooklyn.

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