French Summer Reading (in English)

“A deep peace fills your soul. Here is this delicious book and the whole day, both yours,” wrote Hildegarde Hawthorne in a 1907 issue of the NYT book review. With this in mind, we put together the selection below of recent French Fiction in English. In our opinion, they all have a compelling storyline, a dash of suspense, an informative background, and superb writing. We hope that you find a good match among them!

Reading List

People Like Them by Samira Sedira

In the courtroom where Constant is trialed for the savage murder of the Langlois family, his wife Anna reflects on her husband’s life, from his promising debut as a professional athlete to his accident, his reconversion, and arrival in the hometown of the Langlois, beautiful people who seemed to succeed in everything they did.

Behind the hideous crime, Samira Sedira unveils the mechanism that pushed an ordinary man over the edge of murderous insanity. Captivating!

People Like Them
by Samira Sedira, trans. by Lara Vergnaud, ed. Penguin

Click here to buy the book with us.

In the Shadow of the Fire by Hervé Le Corre

18-28 May 1878. The Parisian revolt against Napoleon III is in its last moments. The outcome is becoming clearer every minute: the fight is lost, and government repression is about to explode into a massively disproportionate, extraordinarily violent, true manslaughter. Among the ruins, the chaos and the bombs, a photographer — fascinated by the ordeal of young women– photographs them in a suggestive setting and sells these to a handful of “special” clients.

As the daughter of a couple of communards — the name given to the rebels– disappears, a  race against the clock begins…

Hervé Lecorre brings back to life a tragic episode of France history and turns it into a  breathtaking crime investigation. Thrilling!

In the Shadow of the Fire by Hervé LeCorre, trans. by Tina Kover, ed. Europa Editions

Click here to purchase this book with us.

Vernon Subutex III by Virginie Despentes

As storm clouds gather, foreshadowing a final reckoning, ersatz rave-cult leader Vernon Subutex decides to return to Paris–even if it means leaving behind his disciples. He has to: he’s got a dentist appointment.

Back in the city, he learns that an old friend from his days homeless on the Paris streets has died and left him half of a lottery win. But when Vernon returns to his commune with news of this windfall, it’s not long before his disciples turn on each other.

Before long, the whole of Paris will be reeling in the wake of the terrorist atrocities of 2015 and 2016, and all the characters in this kaleidoscopic portrait of a city and era will be forced to confront one another one last time. In the wake of all this chaos and hate, the question will rise again: After all he’s been through, who is Vernon Subutex?

Virginie Despentes’s epochal trilogy ends in fire, blood, and even forgiveness… but not everyone will survive to see the dawning of the golden age of Subutex.

Vernon Subutex III by Virginie Despentes, trans. by Frank Wynne, ed. Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Click here to purchase this book with us.

The Art of Losing by Alice Zeniter

The Art of Losing manages the ambitious–and impressive–feat of precisely and profoundly exploring the flaws and vulnerabilities of a family that wanted so much to protect the following generation, but instead handed down its trauma through a forced silence.

As the chapters go by, we see the different sides of Algeria: the colonized country, the lost country, the postcard country, the fantasy that only exists in the memorabilia and memories of parents and grandparents. More than an objective history about Algeria, Alice Zeniter describes the imprint that the country has left on the life and memory of this family.

The Art of Losing by Alice Zeniter, trans. by Frank Wynne, ed. Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Click here to purchase this book with us.