French Books USA: Week in Review

July 20, 2017 | By Matthew Kent

Brooklyn Book Festival to include several Francophone authors!

The Brooklyn Book Festival, New York City’s largest free literary event, has announced its participating authors! The event will open September 11th and continue through the 17th with different events occurring at different locations throughout Brooklyn. The festival draws authors from around the world and will include this year, graphic novelists Pénélope Bagieu, author of California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & Papas and Alex Alice, author of Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 (both published by First Second Books). Haitian author Yanick Lahens, whose Moonbath (Deep Vellum Publishing) received the 2014 Femina prize in France, and Swiss novelist Pascale Kramer, author of Autopsy of a Father (Bellevue Literary Press) will also be in attendance. There are no excuses to miss the Brooklyn Book Festival – even for those who suffer from a case of agoraphobia (it is well attended but breezy) or are afraid to leave home (it feels like home to us), it is definitely an event worth going to, which explains why some have ranked it seventh among the top book festivals around the globe.


French Comic Book Artists at ALA

The American Library Association held its annual conference in Chicago between June 22nd and 25th. On that occasion the French Comics Association brought the graphic novelists Guy Delisle, Marguerite Abouet, Pénélope Bagieu, Teresa Radice, Stefano Turconi, and Jérémie Royer to Chicago to discuss their work in a series of lively panels. Publishers and authors from around the world discussed with librarians about how to make U.S. libraries more multicultural. With this tempting offer to readers to expand their horizons, we hope they begin with only the best kind and some of it might be… French! If you are unfamiliar with Bande Dessinée, but would like to dab into the field, the French comic Association has a full list of recommendations here. Please also note that Marguerite Abouet will be back in the fall for additional events.


The Cross-Eyed Mutt Attempts to Sneak in the Louvre

In The Cross-Eyed Mutt (NBM Publishing), Étienne Davodeau brings readers on a humorous escapade following Fabien, a security guard at the Louvre. Soon after meeting his girlfriend’s family for the first time, his in-laws ask him “to convince the world’s most famous art museum to accept a thoroughly mediocre painting by their ancestor”, representing a cross-eyed mutt. Davodeau’s graphic novel recently reviewed by Publishers Weekly and Fresh Comics is one of many in the Louvre Collection, a series of translated graphic novels by artists set in and exploring the French museum. NBM publishing previously released in the series: An Enchantment by Christian Durieux, On the Odd Hours by Ted Rall and Pablo G. Callejo, Cruising Through the Louvre David Prudhomme, Phantoms of the Louvre by Enki Bilal, and Guardians of the Louvre by Jiro Taniguchi. 


Drawing Influences from le Nouveau Roman

Donald Breckenridge, fiction editor of the Brooklyn Rail and of InTranslation, is known to jump out of typical story-telling and for looking towards distant and unfamiliar yet distinguished literary traditions. His new novel And Then, published by Black Sparrow Press, draws influences from French writers Emmanuel Bove, Claude Simon or Nathalie Sarraute, as he explains in an interview for the Believer. Sarraute first theorized the Nouveau Roman in The Age of Suspicion (George Braziller). Bove–whose, A Raskolnikoff (Red Dust) and Henri Duchemin and His Shadows (New York Review Books) were published in the US in 2015–was a master of hyperobjectivity, notes Breckenridge, while Sarraute’s existentialism provided life to writers such as himself. Of Breckenridge new novel And Then (Black Sparrow Press) Christopher Sorrentino said that it “is vivid, direct, clear; always surprising, always a pleasure to read.”


You can now sign up to receive the Week in Review in your inbox every week. Visit our newsletter subscription page, enter your email, and check the box next to French Books USA Week in Review.

 
For daily updates on events, blogs, and translations, follow us on Twitter @FrenchBooksUSA.