BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

 

To celebrate our French-speaking frères, here’s a list of some of the latest livres in translation (and okay, we cheated with one written in English).

 


 

The Perfect Nanny 

by Leila Slimani

translated by Sam Taylor

 

One of the most anticipated books of 2018, The Perfect Nanny echoes the true-life murder of two children on the Upper West Side a few years ago. It’s not easy territory, but this winner of France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt brings nuance to a horrific scenario. The book opens simply with “the baby is dead,” and what follows is a propulsive look into motherhood, power, and the economics that bind those two issues.




 

The End of Eddy

by Édouard Louis

translated by‎ Michael Lucey

 

There’s a grand history of autobiographical novelists from Center for Fiction favorite Marcel Proust to his modern day equivalent, Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgård. Taking his place next to them is Édouard Louis and we can only hope he’ll be as prolific. The End of Eddy is the intriguing story of Eddy Bellegueule, a young gay boy struggling with adolescence in the blue collar town of Hallencourt, France. Louis brings a compassion to both Eddy and to the cruel characters that surround him—Eddy may be trapped in Hallencourt, but at least he knows he’s trapped.  


 

Black Moses

by Alain Mabanckou

translated by Helen Stevenson

 

Multinational author Alain Mabanckou’s latest creation has been compared to Oliver Twist in review after review. In this finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, young Moses must navigate his orphanage, the turbulent political world of the Congo in the 70s, and the rough streets of Pointe-Noire where he falls into petty theft and working as an errand boy for a brothel. Humor is used as both a balm in this novel, and the weapon to deliver deep insights into Moses’s world.

 



Pétronille

by Amélie Nothomb

translated by Alison Anderson

 

Masquerading as chick lit, Amélie Nothomb’s twenty-third novel (yes, you read that correctly) is a look into female friendship. Published by translation powerhouse Europa Editions, Pétronille is a gamine young woman who takes up with the protagonist (who just happens to be named Amélie Nothomb) as drinking buddy, scamp, and traveling companion. The lightness of this novel is balanced by a healthy dose of humor, and a somewhat shocking dose of dark reality.

 


 

How to Behave in a Crowd

by Camille Bordas

 

Okay this novel was written in English BUT the author is French. For her third novel Bordas draws a family of eccentric prodigies echoing Salinger’s Glass clan. Alone in his ordinariness is the junior member, Isidore (Dory) whose adolescence is marked by the death of his distant papa (known officially as “the father”). Come for the charming quirkiness of this novel, but stay for its wisdom.


 

 

 

 


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