What’s on Maud Simonnot’s Bookshelves?

An editor at Gallimard who has worked with Natacha Appanah, Aurélien Bellanger, Violaine Huisman, among many others, Maud Simonnot is the author of La Nuit pour adresse, an acclaimed biography of the publisher Robert McAlmon.
This fall, Simonnot published an enchanting debut novel, L’Enfant céleste (L’Observatoire). In these pages, a narrator who has exiled herself with her son on a Swedish island revisits her childhood passion for Tycho Brahe, astronomy and Hamlet.
Since we loved the subtle and poetic connections that Maud Simonnot created between the Danish astronomer and Shakespeare, we asked to recommend us some  of the books that have had a formative influence on her. She was gracious enough to share the list below!

Click here to purchase L’Enfant céleste with us.


L'été by Albert Camus

This incandescently beautiful book transports us to the shores of the Mediterranean. A marvelous philosophical and sensual voyage through the origins and memories of an author that I never get tired of reading. The famous quote in “Return to Tipasa” remains an essential guiding light for me: “For there is merely bad luck in not being loved: there is misfortune in not loving.”

L’été, a novel by Albert Camus, Folio.

Click here to purchase this book with us.

L'or des tigres by Jorge Luis Borges

Borges was already blind when he dictated these magnificent poems. I am fascinated by the brilliance that shines from these verses and by their great simplicity, their clarity. We find in this collection all the themes that were important to him; and it is a good introduction to this Argentinian poet who wrote to “soften the passing of time”. I also love the title so much…

L’Or des tigres by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Nestor Ibarra, Poésie Gallimard.

Click here to purchase this book with us.

Les dépossédés by Robert McLiam Wilson

I discovered this book twenty years ago and it was a real eye-opener; I think of it often. Robert McLiam Wilson, after having led an immersive investigation with a photographer friend, recounts the impoverishment of Britain’s most fragile communities under Thatcher, as well as their social and moral degradation. A profoundly human narrative–empathetic and emotionally shattering–about those who are left behind by a brutal world.

Les dépossédés, a novel by Robert McLiam Wilson and Donovan Wylie, translated by Brice Matthieussent, Point Seuil.

Click here to purchase this book with us.

Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein by Marguerite Duras

I have always felt very close to the strange but familiar world of Marguerite Duras–particularly to this book which I read when I was an adolescent and have reread very often ever since. The rhythm of its sentences; its way of talking about bodies, the end of love, and being pushed to madness: it all resonates profoundly with me.

Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein, a novel by Marguerite Duras, Folio.

Click here to purchase this book with us.

En cas d'amour by Anne Dufourmantelle

Loving, being loved, hope and suffering, in an eternal rebeginning…A very short book that is however incredibly rich and true: it should be prescribed for those who are deep in sorrow and desperately looking for a form of truth.

En cas d’amour: Psychopathologie de la vie amoureuse by Anne Dufourmantelle, Rivages Poche.

Click here to purchase this book with us.

Ma famille et autres animaux by Gerald Durrell

To finish on a happier note, I strongly recommend this first volume of the Corfu Trilogy by Lawrence Durrell’s younger brother. In the middle of this global winter that never seems to end, to find one’s self in the light of this Edenic island with this fantastical family is an enchantment.

Ma famille et autres animaux by Gerald Durrell, translated by Leo Lack, La Table Ronde.

Click here to purchase this book with us.