Saturday bookish news


This is just a little post to share a few bookish news.

First, Héloïse est chauve by Emilie de Turckheim is finally available to British readers. It’s been translated by Sophie Lewis. I loved that book (my enthusiastic billet is here) and I was looking forward to its translation in English. Of course, Stu from Winstonsdad’s blog has already spotted it for his 2015 reading list. The Independent also published a glowing review here. Two things are disappointing from my point of view. First, the cover. Look at this! What the hell was the publisher thinking? It looks like paranormal romance.

Turckheim_Heloise_BaldMeyer_hostSee what I mean? Now, here’s the French cover:

turckheim_heloiseThe French cover reflects the atmosphere of the book which is perfectly described in the review of The Independent. Once again, I find an English cover vulgar and almost ridiculing the book it represents.

The other thing that irks me is the reference to Lolita by Nabokov. In French we say Comparaison n’est pas raison (Comparing is not reasoning) Well in this case, comparaison est déraison. While it’s certainly flattering to be compared to a literary genius, while Héloïse does have a love affair with a much older man when she’s underage, Heloise is bald has nothing to do with Lolita. When I read Lolita, I felt terribly ill-at-ease. I felt the kind of uneasiness that nestles in your stomach when you read about abuse, pedophilia and unhealthy relationships. Here, it’s a totally different feeling, more like being in an alternate universe and witnessing an unusual story.

So please, British readers, if you stumble upon this novel in a bookstore, don’t be put off by this cheap cover or by a potential misplaced reference to Lolita in the blurb (I haven’t seen the blurb on the physical copies) and give Emile de Turckheim’s book a chance. She deserves it. I’m truly happy that her novel made it into English.

Otherwise, this weekend is the Fête du Livre of Bron and I hope to see Philippe Djian tomorrow afternoon. He’ll be giving a lecture with Virginie Despentes. He’s one of my favourite contemporary French writers and I really hope I’ll be able to hear that conference. I’m a bit like a teenager who would have a chance to see Robert Pattinson. (Just following the previous trend of reference…)

Other bookish fest to come: Quais du Polar. (26-28 March) Marina Sofia has advertised the festival here and for Parisians readers (there might be some, who knows?), the SNCF is sponsoring the event: it costs only 25€ to come to Lyon by TGV that weekend. It’s a nice opportunity to discover a truly beautiful city.

I have my special membership pass, I’ll be meeting Marina Sofia there and I’m looking forward to it. It’s not going to help downsizing my TBR but I’ll live with it. The list of crime fiction writers attending the event is the following:

  • Paco Ignacio Taibo II (Mexico)
  • Leonardo Padura (Cuba)
  • Horacio Castellanos Moya (Salvador)
  • Daniel Quirós (Costa Rica)
  • Paulo Lins et Edyr Augusto (Brasil),
  • Luis Sepúlveda (Chili),
  • Santiago Gamboa (Colombia),
  • Ernesto Mallo (Argentina),
  • Diego Trelles Paz (Peru)
  • John Grisham (USA),
  • Elizabeth George (USA),
  • Anthony Horowitz (GB),
  • Don Winslow (USA),
  • Shannon Burke (USA),
  • Emily St John Mandel (Canada)
  • Maurice G. Dantec (Canada),
  • Attica Locke (USA),
  • Nicci French (GB),
  • Val McDermid (Scotland),
  • Denise Mina (GB),
  • Mike Nicol (South Africa)
  • Sebastian Rotella (USA).
  • Michael Connelly
  • Ian Rankin
  • Tom Rob Smith (GB),
  • Michel Quint (France)
  • Michel Bussi (France)
  • Maxime Chattam (France)
  • Yasmina Khadra (Algeria)
  • Caryl Férey
  • Ian Manook
  • Kishwar Desai (India),
  • Saul Black (GB),
  • Dror Mishani (Israel.),
  • Gert Nygårdshaug (Norway.)
  • Elena Piacentini (France),
  • Michaël Mention (France),
  • Christophe Reydi-Gramond (France)
  • Nicolas Matthieu (France).

Have you read books by writers of that list?

Btw, Quais du Polar wants to create a list of French-speaking book bloggers who read and review crime fiction. There’s a questionnaire here, if you want to participate. Now the tricky side of it: Am I a French-speaking book blogger? My native language is French but the blog is in English. It seems I don’t fit a proper category and to be honest, I love it! 😉

I hope you’re all doing well and I wish you a nice weekend.


  1. March 7, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Ah, bless you, what a lovely advertisement for Quais du Polar! It is such a fantastic event, am really looking forward to it and to meeting you.
    As for the Turckheim book – yes, the cover is off-putting, to say the least, and the marketing strategy of comparing this with that is always a double-edged sword. (Hello, all the ‘new Gone Girl’ books? Or the ‘next Stieg Larsson’ label on all Scandinavian writers?)


    • March 7, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      It deserves a lot of advertisement. Have you ever done the investigation in the city? It fun.

      This book cover is horrendous. Generally speaking, I find English covers of book often lack class. Great literature is a classy thing, it deserves sober pictures.


      • March 7, 2015 at 9:03 pm

        Ha! You should hear the Anglos talk about how boring French covers are! Personally, I like the plain white covers of Gallimard – it makes you focus more on the content. I do wish, though, that they included more information sometimes about the book and the author.


        • March 7, 2015 at 9:10 pm

          I totally agree with you. French editions of books lack information compared to English ones. I’d like a longer bio sometimes and explanation about the cultural or political context of the novel if it’s relevant. I miss forewords by the translators when it’s a foreign book.


  2. March 8, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Should’ve titled this post: How to Make You Jealous on a Saturday. I hope you’ll be able to meet Djian, and if you do, and you get more than 5 seconds with him, please tell him he is read and very much appreciated in Lebanon 🙂 I wish I could attend the Quais du Polar this year, but I want to consider it for next year. I loved Lyon, as you know, and I know I will return there again. This list is an excellent place to start with crime writers; I think I’m finding my comfort niche within the crime/spy/thriller genre. Santiago Gamboa was also in Lebanon and had a conference in one of the few remaining public libraries in Beirut, but I couldn’t manage to meet him. I heard him interviewed on RFI, he seemed a funny person to me. I think he speaks French, no? Enjoy your bookish weekends 🙂


    • March 8, 2015 at 10:56 am

      Hi Nino,

      I expected your comment on Djian. 🙂 I promise that if I can approach him and overcome my natural shyness, I will tell him about his Lebanese fan.

      I hope you can come next year, it would be fun.

      I’ll let you know how it went.


  3. March 8, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I don’t think the English cover looks anything like Host or any other paranormal YA but I get your point – it’s awful. It looks like Lolita is thinking about eviscerating Humbert.
    I would love to go to Quais du Polar but I’m not sure I’ll be able to. I have to see if I could get a flight from Basel. Thanks for sharing the list of names.


    • March 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

      It reminded me of that cover, though.

      I hope you can come to Quais du polar. It’s probably easier and cheaper to drive here or catch a train in Mulhouse. Let me know what you decide.


      • March 8, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        I don’t drive. 😦
        By train it’s so long. I just checked. No chance of flying from Basel. Maybe I can think of a solution. I’ll let you know. How far is NIce from Lyon? To Nice it’s only 40 minutes by plane.


        • March 8, 2015 at 12:11 pm

          Nice is 4h30 from Lyon by car. You can try to catch a ride with blablacar, I heard it works well.


        • March 8, 2015 at 12:15 pm

          Plus when you look at door-to-door travelling sometimes train is the better option. For me it takes as much time to fly to Brussels as going by train.


          • March 8, 2015 at 5:08 pm

            That’s true.


            • March 8, 2015 at 5:16 pm

              He’s translated in many languages.
              See the upcoming billets list, lots of lesser-known writers to come!


  4. Azimov
    March 8, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Val McDermid-Scottland…I’m not sure whether you meant Scotland or the home of Sir Walter Scott. 🙂


    • March 8, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      Ooops. It’s been changed.
      At least it prompted you to leave a comment: welcome, New Commenter! 🙂


  5. March 8, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Here I was thinking it was strange that NO ONE wrote any blog posts this week and then I realized that I probably just wasn’t getting notification. I was right. WordPress must be buggy.

    I envy you this event, but for me, I would have to seek out: Paco Ignacio Taibo II


    • March 8, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      Why would you seek out this particular writer?
      I wish we could go to Quais du polar together. You’d love this.


  6. March 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    He’s Spanish but now a Mexican citizen. A very interesting man… He has written a series of phenomenal detective novels that had quite a bit of humour in them, and of course I’m a fan:


    • March 9, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks, I’d forgotten this review.


  7. August 21, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    I do prefer french cover actually I feel this book was marketed well in the UK which is a shame sometimes nice keep the original cover rather than make it


    • August 25, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      I really dislike the English cover, Stu. As often. But I’m not the public targeted by this cover, after all, I’m French and I prefer the French cover. 🙂 The marketing guys must do their job well, in a sense.


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