Nicole Rudick Reads Albertine Prize Finalist ‘Suite For Barbara Loden’

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Albertine Prize Finalist
Albertine Prize Finalist , Barbara Loden , Dorothy , Nathalie Leger , P.O.L. , Wanda

Suite For Barbara Loden, a novel by Nathalie Léger, translated from the French by Natasha Lehrer and Cécile Menon, (Dorothy, a publishing project/US, P.O.L./FR), is long-listed for the Albertine Prize, a reader’s choice award. Albertine booksellers have selected ten of the best French novels translated into English in the past year; US-based readers can vote between March 16 and April 30th here.

NICOLE RUDICK on Suite for Barbara Loden

Rudick
“A woman is pretending to be another, in a role she wrote herself, based on another … playing something other than a straightforward role, playing not herself but a projection of herself onto another, played by her but based on another.” In Suite for Barbara Loden—part biography, part meditation—Nathalie Léger sets out to write a short notice about filmmaker Barbara Loden for an encyclopedia but is waylaid by the difficulty of telling another person’s story. And not just any person, but a woman whose defining achievement was to direct and star in a film about another woman. That film, Wanda, is ostensibly about a woman to whom nothing happens—nothing except for life. As Loden merges with Wanda, so too does Léger begin to merge with Loden; and the reader—perhaps especially the woman reader—feels herself fold into this nebulous company, wondering “what she will lose, or what she is going to find.”

Nicole Rudick is a writer, and the Managing Editor of the Paris Review. Her writing has appeared in the New York Review of Books, the L.A. Times, the Believer, Aperture, the Millions, Artforum, and Bookforum.

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Inventive and affecting, it takes both the novel and the biography to new and interesting places.”Eimear McBride

“Brilliant little book.” Valeria Luiselli

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