Home > About reading, French Literature, Personal Posts > Promising French women writers, they say.

Promising French women writers, they say.

I’m sorry but this post is only a selfish reminder. The news magazine L’Express published a list of promising contemporary French women writers and I’m interested in discovering them, but of course, I won’t remember their names if I don’t write them down. And then I thought, where do I file the paper list? So here I am, writing an entry as a post-it, to keep the information somewhere I know it won’t get lost.

So here we are with the recommended books:

Confidences à Allah by Saphia Azzedine

She’s influenced by Robert Merle and Philip Roth. That’s a good sign for me.

Héloïse est chauve by Emilie de Turckheim

Her references are Faulkner and Malcom Lowry. I never managed to finish a Faulkner and Under the Volcano has been sitting on the shelf for 3 years now. Heloïse is bald, the title says. Why do I fear a book about Heloïse having cancer?

Des vies d’oiseaux by Véronique Ovaldé

She likes Faulkner, Bolaño, Antonio Lobo Antunes. I don’t know this Portuguese writer but I should check him out.

Du domaine des Murmures by Carole Martinez

She’s fond of Faulkner (Is there a Faulkner mania I’m unaware of, in this country?), Goran Tunström (Don’t ask me who he is), Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, Maupassant, Claudel, Baudelaire and Rimbaud. Claudel ? Brr… I have Le Coeur Cousu at home, her other book but I haven’t started yet.

Rien ne s’oppose à la nuit by Delphine de Vigan

She’s a fan of Modiano, Nathalie Sarraute, Michel Tournier, Laura Kasischke and James Salter. After reading Underground Time, I wouldn’t have imagined her as a fan of the Nouveau Roman.

Les Séparées by Kéthévane Davrichewy

Her influences? Carson McCullers, Raymond Carver, Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, Marguerite Duras and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. An intriguing mix of writers.

La Ballade de Lila K by Blandine Le Callet

She’s into Greek tragedies and contemporary American literature. Hum.

Cronos by Linda Lê

Her favourite writers are Marina Tsvetaeva, Louis-René des Forêts, Louis Calaferte and Stif Dagerman. I don’t know her and I’ve never heard of the writers she mentioned. I’m terribly intrigued.

La Mémoire des murs by Tatiana de Rosnay.

She’s influenced by Daphne du Maurier and Ian McEwan. I’ve never been tempted by her books but I may be wrong.

Have you ever heard of them before or read their books?

  1. March 17, 2012 at 3:05 am

    As you know I read Underground Time too.

    And I’ll agree what is UP with the Faulkner mania?

    I’ve heard of Tatiana de Rosnay but I can’t recall where. Based on the influences, I’d go with Rosnay and Kéthévane Davrichewy.


    • March 17, 2012 at 3:07 am

      Ok, now I know where I’ve heard the name…Sarah’s Key. Not my type of book.


      • March 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

        Exactly the same reaction here…


        • March 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm

          have you seen the film? It was entertaining, but throughout the film I had this feeling of manipulative storyteller. It was a great story, don’t get me wrong, but the twists and turns were very Hollywood-feeling.


          • March 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm

            No, I wasn’t tempted by the film either, for the reasons you mention.


    • March 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

      I don’t know about this Faulkner mania.

      I’m tempted by Kéthévane Davrichewy too. And I’m curious about Linda Lê.


      • March 18, 2012 at 11:21 am

        Well, as everyone knows, Americans do rule world literature, so therefore Faulkner is required reading.

        Oh, wait, no they don’t…


        • March 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm

          No? I thought we ruled the world literature 🙂


      • March 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm

        Faulkner is a big turn off for me.


        • March 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm

          Same here, I never managed to finish one of his books. Well, we can’t like all writers, geniuses or not.


  2. March 17, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Wonderful list. thanks. I know most of the writers they like (should read my Lobo Antunes on my TBR pile) Not many of the French writers I know though.
    I have the Tatjana de Rosnay here and another ordered which looks great. I almost bought it in French but it seems that some of her novels were written in English. I had the same feeling about her like you. She is currently the French writer who sells the most books and all of her books are bestsellers in English speaking countries too. Enough to be suspicious, right?
    I liked the topic of La mémoire des murs but that one hasn’t been translated.
    I noticed the Faulkner mania before. He is also in the Pancol book.
    You made me change my avatar. You think that’s better now?


    • March 17, 2012 at 9:41 am

      I love this cat picture, thanks for changing the pink for it, it suits you.

      For me Tatiana de Rosnay is a female Douglas Kennedy. I looked at her books several times but I never bought any. Your comment it right, successful writers are suspicious sometimes. She has a French father and an English mother, I think. So she also writes in English.

      I’ll have a look at La Mémoire des murs. (A friend lent me Le Voisin, but it’s still on the shelf…)


      • March 17, 2012 at 9:44 am

        Yes, I guess I’ll keep it. My old autogenerated avatar was pink but I’m rather a dark purple-black-silver kind of person. Therefore – cats it is.
        I would have suggested a de Rosnay readalong but your time… maybe we can do it any way, it’s very short. That would at least make one mutual reader who is interested in a non-translated book. 🙂


        • March 17, 2012 at 9:49 am

          Yes, why not a readalong, as long as I have enough time. It’s an easy read, I should be OK.


      • March 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm

        Have you read any Douglas Kennedy? I have some of his books here. Of course you know he wrote THE BIG PICTURE and then there’s The Woman in the 5th (due to be released soon I hope). I read somewhere that he’s much more popular in Europe–esp. France.


        • March 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm

          June 2012 on DVD


        • March 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm

          Yes I’ve read:

          – The Pursuit of Happiness, I guess you’d like it, I thought it was good.

          – In God’s Country: Travels in the Bible Belt. It’s non-fiction about reborn Christians. Frightening but interesting for a French.

          – Dead Heart : excellent, you’d probably like it. It’s crime fiction.

          – A Special Relationship : don’t give it to a pregnant woman. But I thought this one felt a bit of making a recipe so I stopped reading his books after this one.

          The plot of L’homme qui voulait vivre sa vie is excellent, isn’t it ?


  3. March 17, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Ha! I have splendid news. Danielle will read Tracy Chevalier with us. I told her about it.


    • March 17, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Great! Thank you. I have to write something about it. Usually nobody reads the book along with us.


      • March 17, 2012 at 9:59 am

        I know. they don’t know about it. I actually bought it because Danielle mentioned in one of her Thursday Thirteen posts on novels on friendships between women. She has just done another great Thursday Thirteen on novels based of fictitious diaries btw.


    • March 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      One of the best French films I’ve seen recently.


      • March 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm

        You haven’t seen the latest Guediguian, that’s why.


  4. March 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Is there a Faulkner mania I’m unaware of, in this country?

    Yes. Faulkner was a huge influence on the nouveaux romans writers. Claude Simon is especially close to being French Faulkner.

    The one Lobo Antunes novel I have read was full of Faulkner. Cormac McCarthy and Toni Morrison are Faulknerians, which makes the Carole Martinez list kind of amusing.


    • March 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      Thank you very much for your comment ; everything is crystal clear now.

      I’ve never been able to finish a Faulkner.
      I’ve never been tempted by the Nouveau Roman.
      I’ve put down all the Cormac McCarthy I took in hand in book stores.
      I don’t like Toni Morrison.

      Isn’t my consistency quite amazing ? 🙂

      Shall I deduct from all this that I shouldn’t read Carole Martinez?



  5. March 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Shouldn’t read Carole Martinez? Probably not!

    I have a friend who is similarly consistent with Proust and any writer who can be described as at all Proustian (Nabokov, Edmund White, John Banville), etc. She can’t stand any of them.


    • leroyhunter
      March 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      Well that’s fair enough, but she’s missin’ out on some good eatin’.


  6. emilie de turckheim
    March 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Take Under the Volcano, read it as if you were reading a foreign language, and tell me if it wasn’t worth disturbing the dust on your shelf ! And Heloïse has no cancer, I promise.


    • March 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm


      Thank you for dropping by and leaving a message.

      I haven’t given up on trying Under The Volcano. I’ll be reading it as a foreign language since I bought it in English and I think I was slightly optimistic that day. That’s also why it’s still on the shelf: I need to be on holiday to read this or get a copy in French.

      I’m so glad to hear that Héloïse has no cancer. There’s is this trend about bleak stories in French literature (Tom est mort, D’autres vies que la mienne, Claustria) and I’m a bit suspicious with such a title.


      • emilie de turckheim
        March 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm

        Heloïse is bald because she’s a 5 months old baby ! It’s a love story, a bit insane and unrealistic. But it was such a violent happiness writing it! (i’m French. Hence my shitty english…)
        Why do you want to read Lowry in French…? Are you French? (sounds like I’m saying : “you’ve got cancer?”)


        • March 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm

          A story about a baby ! Now I’m terribly intrigued.

          Guilty ! I’m a French woman who got the crazy idea to create a literary blog in English. One of the best ideas I’ve had in the two years.

          PS : (sounds like I’m saying : “you’ve got cancer?”) After suspecting your character had cancer, I deserved this 🙂


  7. leroyhunter
    March 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Not feeling the love for the Bard of Yoknapatawpha County here!

    Thanks for the list & precis, Emma. Interesting to see what writers opt for for when pressed about influences etc.


    • March 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      Afraid not. My heart beats for the Bard of Wessex.


  8. March 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    thanks for sharing I shall keep eye out for these writers ,all the best stu


    • March 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      Hi Stu,

      I’m afraid some of them aren’t translated into English yet.


  9. March 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Now that I know how to deal with WordPress’ idiotic comment changes, Emma, here is the simple comment I tried to leave you approx. 30 comments back on this post! I very much enjoyed seeing the list of authors you mention here–in particular because male authors outnumber female authors among the books I most want to read by a wide margin. Seeing a list of all new women writer possibilities is thus very gratifying to me. I also wanted to add that even though I’ve yet to read Antonio Lobo Antunes, he comes highly recommended by people whose tastes I trust. Cheers!


    • March 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Richard!

      Thanks for trying again, I’m glad you managed to go through the new virtual gates.
      I’m delighted that you – and other readers – found an interest in that entry. I was sure it would just be a reminder for me.
      I’ve already read Delphine de Vigan and I liked her book very much. (Les Heures souterraines)
      Good to know about Antonio Lobo Antunes.



  10. Vishy
    April 27, 2012 at 8:48 am

    That is a wonderful list, Emma! I have read one book by Tatiana de Rosnay called ‘Sarah’s Key’ and liked it. I liked Tatiana’s insight into French culture in day-to-day life (I don’t know whether it is authentic, but sounded so to me :)) and into French history in the book. Have you read this book? I loved Emilie de Turckheim’s comment to your post 🙂


    • April 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Hello Vishy,

      Thanks for the message.

      I guess I’ll try a Tatiana de Rosnay with Caroline one of these days.

      I’m always delighted when a writer leaves a comment.


  1. March 21, 2012 at 9:12 am
  2. April 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm
  3. April 14, 2012 at 7:45 pm
  4. March 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm

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