Replay Event: Les Monuments de Paris: An Evening with Violaine Huisman

On Thursday, February 15 at 6PM,  internationally acclaimed novelist and FIAF Cultural Director Violaine Huisman discussed Les Monuments de Paris, her latest novel just published to high praise in France by Gallimard, with Albertine Deputy Director Miriam Bridenne.

The Monuments of Paris is a daughter’s loving yet honest confrontation with her family’s heritage. The work explores the public glory and private indignity of her father and grandfather, who survived the Holocaust.  A philosophy professor by trade, Denis Huisman, Violaine’s father, had none of the attributes of a career academic. Half in jest, half in earnestness, he called himself a philosopher-businessman, and indeed, his professional life was something of an oxymoron. In his obituary, he is described as an iconoclast, an unclassifiable, flamboyant, Balzacian character.”

In prose as elegant as it is precise, by turns deeply moving and mischievously funny, Violaine Huisman draws a portrait of twentieth-century France through her father and his own father before him: Georges Huisman, a high-ranking, Jewish French official, who created the Cannes Film festival before being persecuted by the Vichy regime. Capturing a world that belonged to “another generation” and yet whose towering presence can still be felt today, the novel serves as a powerful exploration of how personal and political histories collide.

Violaine Huisman was born in Paris in 1979 and has lived and worked in New York for the past twenty years. She is a novelist, a translator and the current Cultural Director of the FIAF in NY. Her translations into French include David Grann’s True Crime, Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry, Maggie Nelson’s On Freedom and Imogen Binnie’s Nevada. Her début novel, “The Book of Mother,” originally published by Gallimard (under the title Fugitive parce que Reine) in France and Scribner in the US, was translated around the world. It was awarded the Prix Françoise Sagan and the Prix Marie Claire and it was selected as one of The New York Times most notable books of 2021. It is currently being adapted for the screen. Her second novel, “Rose Désert,” was published in 2019 by Gallimard. Her third novel, “The Monuments of Paris” (Gallimard, 2024) will be published by Penguin Press in the US.

Miriam Bridenne is Albertine’s Deputy Director.

Image copyright: Beowulf Sheehan



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