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Tag: Books

philippe-lancon-charlie-hebdo-le-lambeau-Disturbance
Philippe Lançon: Life After Charlie Hebdo

In Disturbance, the French writer and journalist describes his slow reconstruction after being severely wounded in the terrorist attack against newspaper Charlie Hebdo. A deeply moving account the author will present in the U.S. from January 23-31. On January 7, 2015, two men armed with assault rifles entered the offices of satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo and opened fire on...

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Talent Is No Longer an Excuse for Crime

The French cultural world has been shaken to its core by the sexual misdemeanors of director Roman Polanski and the admissions of pedophilia by writer Gabriel Matzneff. Both men considered that their talent put them above the law and the common norms of decency in our societies. Victims are now speaking out. While their predators saw them as muses, they...

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Jean-Pierre Laffont: Shooting Stars in America

New York-based French photographer Jean-Pierre Laffont took pictures of the biggest stars between the 1960s and the 1980s, including Charles Aznavour, Françoise Hardy, Yves Montand, Line Renaud, Alain Delon, Charlie Chaplin, and Alfred Hitchcock. He was given carte blanche for these images, which are now compiled in a coffee-table book published in France by Les Editions de la Martinière. "Let...

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Michel Houellebecq: The Writer Behind the Phenomenon

The French writer published Sérotonine last January at the age of 62. His latest work, which was recently translated in English and published in the U.S., offers another take on his favorite character, the depressed white male. While less political than Submission, the new novel with a print run of 320,000 copies made the front pages in France, despite the...

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Jean-Paul Dubois, the Worried Observer of America

With a dozen novels, short stories, and essays to his name, Jean-Paul Dubois has created a profoundly human body of work inspired by his experience in America, where he worked as a correspondent for Le Nouvel Observateur for 15 years. His latest novel, Tous les hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon, won France’s top literary honor, the...

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Isadora Duncan, Reborn in a Graphic Novel

Ninety years after her death, long-forgotten American dancer Isadora Duncan is now back in the spotlight. Franco-American actress Lily-Rose Depp played her in the movie The Dancer three years ago, and she is now the lead character in a graphic novel published in France by Dargaud in 2017 and translated into English this week by SelfMadeHero. Isadora retraces the fanciful...

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How Charles de Gaulle Rescued France

As Julian Jackson insists in the preface of his biography, published by Harvard University Press in 2018 and translated in French by Seuil, De Gaulle is “everywhere” in modern France, its undisputed hero. This claim, like some other confident statements in the book, may strike a reader as both narrowly true and what a French thinker might call metaphysically false. His...

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Jean-Baptiste Del Amo: Up Close and Personal With Nature

French author Jean-Baptiste Del Amo won the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman for Une éducation libertine in 2008, and in 2016 published Règne animal, a denunciation of the violent treatment of animals. Driven by lyrical, organic writing, it will be released in English in the United States on September 10 as Animalia. Rarely does a book stimulate all the senses...

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A Tour of France in 45 Cheeses

From Abondance in Haute-Savoie and Valençay in Berry to Corsican Brocciu and Munster from the Vosges, artisan cheesemaker Dominique Bouchait presents 45 iconic French cheeses in a coffee-table book published by Rizzoli. A mouth-watering work filled with anecdotes and practical advice. “How could you possibly govern a country in which there are 246 varieties of cheese?” exclaimed Charles de Gaulle....

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Philippe Petit, the Last Sky Poet

Anticipating the 45th anniversary of Philippe Petit’s incredible tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in New York, the New Directions publishing house has rereleased his book, On the High Wire, a practical, poetic little work translated into English by New York writer Paul Auster. Philippe Petit sitting down is a sad sight to behold. He usually inspires images of a...

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Monsieur Mediocre: The High Art of Being French Everyday

John von Sothen is an American columnist who lives in Paris, where he covers entertainment and society issues for French Vanity Fair. He moved there after meeting his wife, Anaïs, in a café in Brooklyn. They now have two kids who, with Anaïs, are featured throughout his first book, Monsieur Mediocre, which is ultimately a love letter to France — to...

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Le Pouvoir Discret or Le Soft Power? How French Is Fighting Back Against Globish

It should have been a celebration of French language and literature; instead it kindled a controversy. Last month’s national book fair, Livre Paris, was rocked by the organizers’ decision to highlight la littérature “Young Adult” (rather than jeune adulte) through a series of equally ill-named events. Say hello to la Bookroom, le Photobooth, le Bookquizz, and even un Brainsto (presumably...

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Laurent Gaudé: Observing the Wounds of History

French novelist and playwright Laurent Gaudé was born in 1972 and has written several plays, novels, short stories, and opera libretti. He was awarded the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens in 2002 for Death of an Ancient King, an epic novel about a fictional African monarch, followed by the Prix Goncourt in 2004 for his novel The Scortas’ Sun, which paints...

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Lucky Luke, a Cowboy in Paris

Lucky Luke is the main character in a Francophone comic-book series, but is all but unknown in the United States where the market is dominated by superheroes from the Marvel franchise. For the first time ever, in Lucky Luke, a Cowboy in Paris published in French and English, the sheriff has left the American West to visit France during the Belle...

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Louise Bourgeois: L for Labyrinth, B for Beauty

French-American artist Louise Bourgeois is the woman behind more than 3,000 works of art including sketches, prints, jewelry, sculptures in wood, fabric, plaster, and rubber, as well as her monumental spiders. A coffee-table book designed in the style of a glossary has been published by Rizzoli to commemorate the career of the woman known as the “lioness of contemporary art.”...

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Tomi Ungerer, Author of The Three Robbers, is Dead at 87

French illustrator Tomi Ungerer, 87, passed away this Saturday in Cork, Ireland. Born in Alsace, he moved to the United States in the 1950s where he became famous for his children's books, erotic (and often humorous) drawings, and posters against the war in Vietnam. Tomi Ungerer left France for New York in 1956, leaving his memories of the Nazi Occupation behind...

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Five Coffee-Table Books for the Holidays

France-Amérique has selected five coffee-table books including rare editions, glossy guides to fashion and art de vivre, and collections of cocktail recipes all published by prestigious houses. Perfect for putting under the tree this Christmas.   Eternally Ritz In 1898, the Swiss businessman César Ritz inaugurated a palace hotel boasting “the full sophistication any prince would expect to find in...

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The Art of French Conversation for Dummies

Using tennis matches, good wine that needs time to breathe and English-style gardens, Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau have an impressive arsenal of metaphors when it comes to illustrating the subtleties of French conversation. This couple of journalists from Quebec lived in Paris for four years, and observed the codes that govern verbal interactions between French people during a bus...

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“The Order of the Day,” a Goncourt Laureate Like no Other

For the first time since it was founded, the Prix Goncourt has been awarded to a historical account instead of a novel. The winner is none other than The Order of the Day by Eric Vuillard, a staggering work of some 130 pages which was recently translated and published in the U.S. After the initial surprise, readers will be firmly...

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“Colette” in U.S. Theaters

British actress Keira Knightley is cast in the role of the French renowned novelist in this biographical movie, out in the U.S. on September 21, looking back over her nascent literary career and turbulent private life. In 1893, despite their 14-year age difference, a young Burgundy girl named Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette marries Willy, an egocentric writer and womanizer. He introduces her...