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End-of-the-year billets rush and November Literary Prizes in France

December 5, 2019 15 comments

We’re already the 5th of December and the end of the year is looming over us. Christmas lights are installed in cities, Lyon gets dolled up for the Fête des Lumières (The Festival of Lights)

and I still have a few books without a billet. I need to be honest with myself, I won’t be able to write proper billets about these six books on top of the ones I’ll be reading in December. So, I’ll write a series of quick posts to give you the gist of them and my thoughts. Don’t expect polished English or deep analyses, quick-and-dirty will have to do. The series of short billets should be about:

  • Betty by Simenon,
  • Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville
  • Lightning Strikes by Ned Crabb
  • Cry, Mother Spain by Lydie Salvayre
  • Figurec by Fabrice Caro
  • Fatima ou les Algériennes au square by Leïla Sebbar

November is also the month of the most prestigious literary prizes in France. So, here are the winners for 2019. I haven’t read any of them because I can’t read books within libraries’ deadlines and I only buy paperbacks. So, here’s a sample of the prizes:

  • Prix Goncourt: Tous les hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon by Jean-Paul Dubois. He’s a readable writer, I’ll probably get it next year.
  • Prix Goncourt des Lycéens : This is the Goncourt elected by high school students. I have a soft spot for prizes given by young readers. They have a fresh eye. They awarded the prize to Les Choses humaines by Karine Tuil, where the son of a well-known couple is accused of rape. The book shows how this shatters their lives.
  • Prix Femina: Par les routes by Sylvain Prudhomme.
  • Prix Interallié : Les Choses humaines by Karine Tuil. Yes, she won TWO prizes.
  • Prix Médicis : La Tentation by Luc Lang.
  • Prix Renaudot : La panthèse des neiges by Sylvain Tesson.

All seem accessible to mainstream readers and I like this idea. So, keep your eyes open they’ll probably make it into English translation.

Meanwhile, I’ll be writing vignettes about the books I read but never had time to write a billet about.

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