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Tag: Books

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Perspective Through Exile: James Baldwin in France

A key figure in the fight against discrimination and for civil rights in the United States, African-American novelist James Baldwin was born in Harlem in 1924. Fleeing racism in America, he arrived in Paris in 1948. France was where he wrote his most famous works, such as Notes of a Native Son (1955), Giovanni’s Room (1956) and Just Above My Head...

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Occupied Paris by Janet Flanner

Writing under the pen name of Genêt, Janet Flanner (1892-1978) was the daughter of a Quaker from Indianapolis who spent fifty years brilliantly portraying Parisian life in her "Letters from Paris" for the New Yorker. Swept up in the politics of the 1930s, she gradually abandoned her neutral stance and invented a new form of journalism. She was forced to...

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Melissa Clark: “France Is Where I Learned How to Cook”

Melissa Clark was celebrating the release of her latest book, "Dinner in French," when lockdown began in New York City. Since then, the "New York Times" food writer and author of 43 cookbooks (including one written with French chef Daniel Boulud) has spread her love of French cuisine through online cooking demos, live videos on Instagram, and simple recipes tailored...

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Cécile David-Weill: “Authority Is Credibility Granted by Children”

Cécile David-Weill is the author of three novels, including "The Suitors," a comedy of manners about French high society. In "Parents Under the Influence," recently translated from French and published in the United States, the French-American mother of three tackles accepted ideas about raising children. She shows how we are subconsciously influenced by how our parents raised us, with often...

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Nicolas Mathieu: A Novel for a Disillusioned Generation

Awarded the 2018 Prix Goncourt, "And Their Children After Them" follows a handful of young people between 1992 and 1998 in a French region hit by deindustrialization. Nicolas Mathieu’s second novel, published in English in the United States on April 7, is a vast social epic offering a masterful portrait of a forgotten France. In the hot summer sun of Lorraine...

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Simone de Beauvoir in America

Born in 1908, the philosopher, novelist, and essayist was 39 when she arrived in New York. She had not yet published her renowned feminist work The Second Sex (1949), but had written three novels, including She Came to Stay, and two essays. Invited by the French cultural services to give a series of conferences at American universities, she spent four...

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Confinement: 10 Books for Francophile Readers

This is your new reality: You are confined at home for the foreseeable future. Take advantage of this time to read. France-Amerique has compiled a list of 10 books in French, novels, essays on economy or history, graphic novels, and even a coffee-table book on French cheese! Some bookstores offer curbside delivery, and others, like Albertine in New York, made ordering...

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The Forgotten French Pioneers of the American Frontier

We have heard of officers Lewis and Clark and their expedition across the Rockies in 1804-1806. But who remembers Toussaint Charbonneau, their French-speaking guide? Or Pierre Gambie, an interpreter working with the Timucua tribe in Florida during the 1560s? America’s French past has been hidden, according to historian Gilles Havard, research director at the CNRS and author of a book...

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Thomas Piketty, the Man Sending Property to the Guillotine

Six years after the publication of the 800-page bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century, in which he defended increased taxation on higher incomes to reduce inequalities, French economist and writer Thomas Piketty is back with a new subversive and even bigger work. Weighing in at 1,104 pages — two pounds of paper! — Capital and Ideology was published in France...

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The Comic Book Calling of Philippe Labaune

After 27 years working in finance in New York, Frenchman Philippe Labaune has reconnected with his biggest passion, comic books. He is curating the first European comics exhibition in America at the Danese/Corey gallery from February 28 through March 14. The fifty-something has a relaxed, artistic look — stubble, sideburns, and XXL eyeglasses — as he welcomes us into his...

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I Love You, Mon Amour: Ten Legendary French-American Couples

The following portraits are of artists, designers, writers, diplomats, and actors. Half are French, half are American. And all of them are in love! In celebration of Valentine’s Day, France-Amérique has taken a closer look at ten legendary French-American couples whose passionate or thwarted romances have gone down in 20th-century history. Juliette Gréco & Miles Davis Miles Davis could well have...

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Adeline Dieudonné: Childhood in the Lion’s Den

In her first novel, to be published in the U.S. on February 4, Belgian writer Adeline Dieudonné portrays a young girl struggling with her tyrannical father, a big-game hunter with a fascination for bloodshed. Awarded the Prix Renaudot des Lycéens in 2018, Real Life reveals an author with a singular perspective blending unease with dark humor. In the chamber of...

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Denise Bombardier: “In America, Mr. Matzneff Would Already Be in Jail”

In 1990, the Quebecer journalist was the only person to condemn the acts of pedophilia committed by Gabriel Matzneff. The successful French writer was an idol of the Parisian intelligentsia who used his attraction to young boys and girls as a major inspiration for his books. After being insulted by her French colleagues, Denise Bombardier has become a heroine for...

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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...