Book: our favorites of the month of May 2022

  • The Last of the Writersby Gwenaële Robert

♥♥♥ Protected by the ramparts of Saint-Malo, the writer Pierre Le Guellec almost never leaves his reserve. Since the time she has been practicing it, Marie thinks she has become his friend, in addition to being his press officer. However, it must be admitted, Pierre hid his intentions from her. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, he flew to Stockholm, but never arrived at his destination. There she wanders and worries, even the dog is depressed, refusing to frolic on the beach. Did Pierre have health concerns or suicidal thoughts? We are shod in a few pages in this intimate investigation. FF

“The Last of the Writers”, by Gwenaële Robert, ed. Presses de la Cité, Coll. “Dark Lands”, 208 p., €20.

  • Mountains and wondersby Isabelle Spaak

♥♥♥ Isabelle has a brother, Michel, twenty years her senior. In his eyes the god of siblings. Traveler and whimsical… he will send her short funny letters all his life. Together, they like to unearth treasures during their walks, such as this palace in Liège where Napoleon slept twice, with Joséphine then Marie-Louise. It is this story of alcoves that Isabelle chooses to tell. As a tribute to a happy memory. Josephine, sumptuous in a daffodil muslin dress, but keeping her mouth shut to hide her spoiled teeth… Marie-Louise, lugging a miniature medicine cabinet to Liège. By cultivating the funny detail, Isabelle joins Michel and his Oulipian humor. The chapters alternate. A letter, a historical anecdote. And it is a pure marvel. IB

“Mounts and wonders”, by Isabelle Spaak, ed. Equators, 268 p., €20.

  • Chronicles of a Child of the Republicby Sebastien Boudria

♥♥♥ “Everything my father didn’t give me, the Republic gave it to me. Sébastien Boudria grew up loving France, its history, its language; in the passion for this country which gave him access to public and secular schools, to culture, to classical music. So this book is like a tribute. In line with his album Jours de Gloire, he celebrates the founding texts of our Republic: 45 letters, texts of laws, speeches… by artists, writers or politicians. He dissects them and punctuates them with personal anecdotes. A fascinating rereading, particularly useful in this electoral period. AT

“Chronicles of a child of the Republic”, by Sébastien Boudria, ed. Actes Sud, 240 p., €18.50.

  • The Little Coriaceby Anne Loyer

♥♥♥ She doesn’t have her tongue in her pocket, Marinette. An impertinent 10-year-old, she flees her devastated home: mother gone to live true love with the next door neighbor, cop father who drowns his sorrows in alcohol and overtime. Left to her own devices, she wanders during the day between the beach and the alleys. Until his meeting with Barnabé, a failed juggler, in a supermarket. He brings her back to his aunt Gaby, delighted to pamper the flayed kid. But Marinette is unaware that she is reviving in her new friends the memory of a little girl who disappeared twenty years earlier… With a fine and alert pen, Anne Loyer paints a social novel that draws tears. Tremendous. IB

“La Petite Coriace”, by Anne Loyer, ed. Anne Carrière, 250 pages, €18.90.

  • The Forgerby Patricia Delahaie

♥♥♥ He is in his fifties, his children have left the nest, he hardly notices his wife anymore. Only his patients still arouse his enthusiasm. That’s when he meets her: as sublime and ethereal as an apparition. When she arrives in his office, he remains professional. But she’s not there for his troubles… All this is just an invention to shoe him. And here is the country doctor who lets himself be bamboozled in no time. Guided towards a goal that only she knows: the murder of her husband. Until the trial, he will find excuses for her, remain enamored, ready to pay. The author takes us on a chilling news item like a court reporter, and it’s breathtaking. FF

“The Forger”, by Patricia Delahaie, ed. Belfond Noir, 368 pages, €19.

  • The promiseby Damon Galgut

♥♥♥ Before dying, Rachel extracts a promise from her husband: to give Salomé, the black maid, the shack in which she lives on the family land. South Africa, at that time, still cultivated apartheid… And the promise flew away as soon as death was pronounced. For nearly thirty years, Amor, Rachel’s youngest daughter, will try to make her respect her. A very dark picture of a country plagued by violence and racism, this novel follows the chaotic destiny of each member of this family of white farmers. His breath and his virtuoso construction won him the coveted Booker Prize. An uppercut. IB

“The Promise”, by Damon Galgut, ed. de l’Olivier, 304 p., €23.

  • The Alaska Sanders Affairby Joel Dicker

♥♥♥ It’s a trilogy whose central character is Marcus Goldman, a talented writer and a bit naive. In The Truth About the Harry Quebert* Affair, he struggles to clear his former teacher and mentor of the murder of his young mistress. In Le Livre des Baltimore**, the writer investigates his own family: the other branch, the one in which everything succeeded. Alaska mixes characters from the previous two novels, Marcus returns to focus on an old murder that haunts his cop friend. A delicious suspense and revelations… The recipe for success: recurring characters, stories in the story, twists and cliffhangers. All the ingredients for an addictive read. FF

“The Alaska Sanders Affair”, by Joël Dicker, ed. Rosie & Wolfe, 576 pages, €23.

* Ed. Rosie & Wolfe paperback, 862 p., €9.50.

** Ed. Rosie & Wolfe paperback, 596 pages, €9.

  • son’s storyby Marie-Helene Lafon

♥♥♥ Unknown father and intermittent mother… André, born in the 1920s, was raised and pampered by his aunt and uncle in the midst of a host of adorable cousins. We follow his destiny like that of his father, Paul, whose name he will only know the day before his wedding, of Gabrielle, his Parisian mother, or of his son, Antoine, who has become an American. We play leapfrog: the harsh Cantal, the generous Lot… and leapfrog (the novel takes place over a hundred years). This marvelous fresco, condensed into 176 pages, won the Renaudot prize. IB

“History of the son”, by Marie-Hélène Lafon, ed. Folio, 192 pages, €7.60.

  • The Quest for the Orphanusby Viviane Moore

♥♥♥ It was by accident that Josef discovered it. Falling into a cave, the young man finds an incandescent stone and brings it back to his lapidary master. We are in 960, in the kingdom of Bohemia. Worked and set on the imperial crown, the stone guides princes and those who venerate it. Thus, the stone will disappear if those who possess it do not prove themselves worthy of it. Through the centuries, it will be stolen, lost, discovered and listened to… because there will always be men to aim for the best in the human soul. FF

“The Quest for the Orphanus”, by Viviane Moore, ed. 10/18, 430 pages, €14.90.

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Book: our favorites of the month of May 2022