4 Not-to-Be-Missed Debut Novels

First novels are the type of books that remain just as exciting for us booksellers to discover year after year. Discovering the first texts of future great authors, to be won over by a tone, a voice, a sense of humor; and to feel that we are at the edge of a great story…these are some of the joys that certain of them bring to us each year. Here are four first novels that have moved us, made us laugh, or left us wanting more. In our opinion, these authors–Hadrien Bels, Jean-Marc Graziani, Dany Héricourt, and Maud Simonnot–are already excellent novelists.

Reading List

L'Enfant céleste by Maud Simonnot

Travel is a recurring them in Scandinavian literature. Writing in calm and limpid prose that listens to the night and the stars, paying attention to the murmur of nature and history, Maud Simonnot seems to be inspired by this tradition with its narrative about suffering in order to be reborn. Read more.
L’Enfant céleste talks about the love of a mother for her son; as well as a period of suffering and then recovery–not through therapy, but through a symbiosis with the natural elements

L’Enfant céleste, a debut novel by Maud Simonnot, L’Observatoire.

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Cinq dans tes yeux by Hadrien Bels

In 1995, when promoting Total Khéops (Europa Books) Jean-Claude Izzo said: “Marseille is the only city on earth where you can show up for the very first time, penniless and with just a suitcase and yet claim: I am home”.
25 years later, Hadrien Bels’s debut novel, Cinq dans tes yeux, comes as a scathing refutation of this remark. Read more.

Cinq dans tes yeux, a debut novel by Hadrien Bels, L’Iconoclaste

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by Jean-Marc Graziani

Bastia, 1954. Joseph, a twelve-year-old boy, hears voices. With his great grandmother Mammo as his sole confidante, Joseph follows these mysterious injunctions coming from another world.
So begins a journey that will lead the pair to the four corners of Corsica, where they will meet some of the guardians of its past.
Reassembling these fragmentary narratives, Joseph revives a buried family story where the traumas of World War Two resound.

As sometimes certain mental fragrances float around books, this first novel by Jean-Marc Graziani has that of an attic, of childhood, of bittersweet jam. It is a great pleasure to follow Graziani in the labyrinth of a memory that comes and goes between the collective and the intimate. Beyond its colorful characters, its lively scenes, it has the gift to recreate the sensations of childhood–its manner of seeing the world, its unique mixture of wisdom and naivete.

De nos ombres, a debut novel by Jean-Marc Graziani, ed. Joëlle Losfeld

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La Cuillère by Dany Héricourt

Seren is eighteen years old when her father dies suddenly. The entire family is in shock, but Seren does not abandon herself to grief. She spots a silver spoon at the bedside of the deceased; a spoon whose likeness–with its Burgundian insignia–she has never seen among the dishes at home.
And then she is off: on the road at the wheel of her father’s car in search of the origins of this unusual spoon.
Thus begins a singular journey illuminated by fortune tellers, unexpected acts of solidarity, and unhoped-for moments of togetherness. This is a first novel full of fantasy, softness, and humor. It would be a mistake to pass it by!

La Cuillère, a debut novel by Daby Héricourt, Liana Levi

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After almost two decades of working in publishing, and a few round trips between Paris and New York, Miriam has decided to settle down at Albertine to do what she enjoys most: recommending books she loves. Somehow this also includes taking bizarre pictures for Albertine's social media outlets.
Other recommendations by Miriam Bridenne