Pride Month Reading List

For this year’s Pride reading list, you may be surprised to find neither Virginie Despentes nor Edouard Louis; though we absolutely recommend reading them, we challenged ourselves to think a little more outside the box for this year’s picks. Enjoy, and happy Pride from the Albertine team!

Reading List

La petite dernière by Fatima Daas

This striking debut novel by Fatima Daas gives a literary voice to the conflicted experience of its author, a Muslim lesbian in France. Each short chapter beginning with a simple “My name is Fatima Daas,” this slim novel takes on a hypnotic quality that could almost be likened to that of a prayer or a confession, with the author’s intensity and pure need for expression burning on the page before our eyes. Read more.

La petite dernière by Fatima Daas, ed. Notabilia

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France’s great culture for bande dessinée might have found an American rival in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Luckily enough, this American bestselling graphic memoir got translated into French in 2013 by Corinne Julve and Lili Sztajn. After her famous Dykes to Watch Out For, Bechdel spent seven years writing and drawing her youth in rural Pennsylvania to create this extraordinary autobiography. Gender roles and sexual orientation play a huge part here, for both the author herself and her father. Truly a must-read.

Fun Home : Une Tragicomedie Familiale by Alison Bechdel, ed. Points

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Sphinx by Anne Garreta

Anne Garreta’s talent is far from getting the fame it deserves in France. As a member of the avant-garde literature workshop Oulipo, whose members included Georges Perec and Raymond Queneau, she believes formal restrictions can trigger inspiration and ideas. In Sphinx, Garreta uses the gender binary as a literary constraint to be bypassed; this is a brilliant love story where the characters’ gender is never identifiable. A revolution on its own!

Sphinx by Anne Garreta, ed. Grasset

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Thérèse et Isabelle by Violette Leduc

Mentored by Simone de Beauvoir, Violette Leduc published the dramatically beautiful novel Ravages with Gallimard in 1955, but the editor censored the first section of the book – a semi-autobiographical lesbian story depicting some explicit, yet deeply poetic, love scenes. The censored part was eventually published as a separate novel, Thérèse et Isabelle, but it was not until 2000 that the fully uncensored version came out (no pun intended).

Thérèse et Isabelle by Violette Leduc, ed. Gallimard

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Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs by Jean Genet

We could not end this (hardly comprehensive) list without including the stellar author and political activist Jean Genet, who wrote his first novel Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs while he was in prison in 1942. The manuscript was first confiscated and burned by a guard, but Genet heroically wrote it all over again, giving us a poetic, at times erotic, and always undaunted novel. We follow the narrator’s journey into 1950s gay underground Paris and the cross-dressing community of Montmartre, partaking in the various encounters that were clearly drawn from Genet’s personal life.

Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs by Jean Genet, ed. Gallimard

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Currently wrapping up a Master's Degree in Communication, Culture and Institutions at the French university of Sciences Po Lyon, Alice has joined the Albertine team for a six-month internship. After spending one year in Maine and at least a decade in her books, she is thrilled to be back in the U.S. to share her passion for French culture with New Yorkers. She also loves cinema, photography and music!
Other recommendations by Alice de Reviers