French Books USA: Week in Review

March 13, 2015 | By Kyra Sturgill
Temps Glaciaires by Fred Vargas

NYTimes Book Review Features French Translation
Last week the New York Times Book Review featured a shortlist of French titles recently translated into English.The books reviewed here include Dominque Fabre's Guys Like Me (Translated by Howard Curtis), Romain Puértolas's The Extraordinary Journey of Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe (Translated by Sam Taylor), Denis Thériault's The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman (Translated by Liedewy Hawke), and Michel Déon's Foundling's War (Translated by Julian Evans).

France’s Position on the “Droit d’auteur”
La Société civile des auteurs multimedia held a series of forums on March 12th discussing the European Commission’s plan to revise the directive on the “right of the author” (the European version of copyright). The Minister of Culture and Communication, Fleur Pellerin, affirmed the French government’s position at the event, saying that France will participate in these negotiations with the intention to continue protecting the author’s proprietary and moral rights, especially as the means of circulating works becomes more fluid and complex. Pellerin added that they hope to protect these rights while also encouraging cultural diversity by sharing works across borders.

Hachette Livre Hopes to Avoid Spike in E-Book Price
The director of Hachette Livre, Arnaud Nourry, expressed in an interview on Friday, March 13 his opposition to the ruling by the European Court of Justice to no longer allow reduced tax rate (TVA réduite) on e-books in France. Despite the higher TVA, Nourry would like to avoid an immediate spike of Hatchette’s  e-book pricing, ultimately hoping for a reversal of the ruling in the near future.     

Philosopher Jean Vanier Awarded Templeton Prize
The Canadian, Swiss-born philosopher living in France, Jean Vanier, was awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize for promoting spiritual awareness. Mr. Vanier has lived most of his life in France in a village near Compiègne, 60 miles north of Paris. He is the author of 30 books on religion, normality, success, and tolerance. He announced that he would give the $1.7 prize to his organization L’Arche, a global network of communities for people with intellectual disabilities.

New Novel by Fred Vargas Bestseller in France
Temps Glaciaires, the first novel by Fred Vargas in four years, was published in France last week by Flammarion. The highly anticipated novel, following the familiar commissioner Adamsberg from her previous books, sold 300,000 upon release, sending it to the head of the list in GFK/Livres Hebdo’s Top 20 for the week of March 2 to March 8 (notably outselling the longstanding Fifty Shades of Grey books).

French Economist Thomas Piketty Clarifies Findings
Thomas Piketty published a new paper in the American Economic Review which aims to clarify certain findings he published in his acclaimed book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. First published in English last year, the book quickly became a bestseller in the United States and was listed as a finalist for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle award. Piketty’s new paper delves deeper into the reasons for growing wealth disparity in the US, claiming it has been caused by a widening gap between the labor incomes of top-earners and the rest of Americans. 


Keep up with the latest news on the French literary scene in France and the U.S. with the French Book Department’s weekly paper trail. For daily updates on events, blogs and translations, follow us on Twitter @FrenchBooksUSA.

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