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Tag: Books

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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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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 new novel, Tous les hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon, will be published in France on...

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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...

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Jeanne Damas’ Love Letter to Parisian Women

The book of photographs À Paris, which was released in France last year, is now available in the United States under the title In Paris: 20 Women of Life in the City of Lights. According to French fashion designer and model Jeanne Damas, it is impossible to define what the archetype of la Parisienne really means: there are as many Parisian...

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France and the United States From Liberation to Exasperation

How did Americans go, in the mind of the French, from gum-chewing liberators to Coke-swilling invaders? A U.S. historian and a French cheesemonger examined this transformation in a book published this summer. During the Liberation, American GIs used calvados brandy to fuel their Zippo lighters. In 1948, the French communist party called for a boycott of the American soda giant, accusing...

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A New French Consul in Los Angeles

French writer Philippe Besson was appointed Consul General of France in Los Angeles. A close acquaintance of Emmanuel Macron's, his accession to such a coveted position is raising questions. The author of 18 books, including Un personnage de roman — an account of Emmanuel Macron’s 2017 campaign and an intimate portrait of the presidential couple — Philippe Besson will soon be...

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How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Marcel Proust

At the turn of the 19th century, three celebrities of their day reigned supreme in the uppermost crust of Paris. These three women, Madame de Chevigné, Straus, and Greffuhle, are important to us today not because of their status but because they inspired the pen and passion of Marcel Proust. The famed author conflated their characteristics to create the fictional...

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The Birth of U.S. Naval Aviation on the Ile d’Oléron

On August 20, 2018, Ile d’Oléron (in the Charente-Maritime département) will be paying homage to the 383 U.S. soldiers who lived on the island during World War I. Posted more than 400 miles from the trenches, these pilots, sailors, and mechanics from the U.S. Navy were tasked with defending the French coast against German submarines. Located on the Atlantic Ocean...