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French Literature


Welcome to our literary notes for summer reading!

AFF President Florence Ramond Jurney has curated a list of some lesser well-known French authors that she has read over the past few years. She is sharing some of her reading notes just in time for the summer should anyone want some new and interesting reading in the next couple of months.

Below are five interesting and contemporary authors to discover this summer!

Happy reading!

Mon frère, ce héros by Colin Thibert (2021) This novel describes the adventure of a group of thieves who are trying to take advantage of a young mentally handicapped man. The plot is described through the thugs’ daily lives, and doesn’t gloss over anybody’s existence. As a result, there is no hero to speak of. It is also surprisingly funny, but makes us thankful not to live any of the characters’ lives!

Les années sans soleil by Vincent Message (2022). This is one of the first works of fiction to include the pandemic in its plot. While it is not defined as the Covid pandemic, it evokes all the difficulties many of us encountered during those dark days, turning into months, turning into years. Many of the anecdotes will bring us back to those days (the fear of grocery shopping, the difficulties of going out for a stroll, the need to party and the consequences of doing so). This is not about a specific moment in time but rather about how, as humans, we deal with difficult moments in our history.

Les ailes collées by Sophie de Baere (2022) leaves us with a bitter-sweet after taste where a young man witnesses the disillusions of his parents’ life and love, and at the same time falls passionately in love with another young man. What starts as a deep friendship in the mid-80s turns into something more, and is squashed by parents who believe they are acting in the interest of their minor children. Only time will enable the young men to come to terms with the homophobic reactions they are forced to endure for a long time. Beautifully written!

Les falaises de Flamanville by Jérôme Lefilliatre (2023) focuses on the potential building of a nuclear plant in the late 70s. Unsurprisingly, the novel centers around the battle between the two sides (pro and con) but the plot is enriched by smaller subplots such as the discreet attraction between the mayor and an old respectable landowner who find themselves on opposite sides of the debate. This novel reminds us how tricky human relations get when they are influenced by political arguments.

Shit! by Jacky Schwartzmann (2023) is about a young school counselor and a mother who find themselves unwillingly at the center of a major drug trafficking business. Thrown into it by unfortunate events, they enjoy, at first, using the money from the drug sales to improve the daily lives of some of the most deserving people around them. However, they quickly realize that their good deeds place them nevertheless on the wrong side of the law and it becomes difficult to figure out how such a venture will end without collateral damage.

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