Meeting in Paris on June 2, the members of the jury chaired by Colombe Schneck named the five winners of the 2022 edition with the support of the Panerai house.
In the French novel category
The Eternal Betrothedby Agnès Desarthe
The author: it was in 2018, Bernard Pivot, then president of the Goncourt Academy, declared: “Agnès Desarthe has long deserved one of the great literary prizes of the year.” She is the author of a formidable literary work for adults and children. But for the jurors, she has a problem, she is intelligent and sensitive, but also facetious.
The book : In The Eternal Betrothed, a girl and a boy meet as children, love each other and lose each other. Will they find each other and love each other forever? From this simple story, the writer, like an acrobat, launches herself. She tracks down disarray, bad luck, the wrong path. With time, what was a disappointment becomes funny. Agnès Desarthe says that writing is like looking for a marvelous ring in a mountain of hay, without knowing if it really exists. A bet that our heroine of the Grand Prix Madame Figaro 2022 has won, demonstrating that fantasy in the face of misfortune is a vital consolation. CS
The Eternal Bridegroom by Agnès Desarthe, Éditions de L’Olivier, 256 p., €19.
In the Foreign novel category
where the happy people livedby Joyce Maynard
The author: from his tumultuous relationship, at 18, with JD Salinger, will be born in 1998 an autobiographical story And in front of me, the world. Inspired by his life (“Telling my life has always been what gives it meaning”) or news stories that have marked the United States, his novels touch our hearts. In her house on the edge of a lake, she continues to live her passion, writing.
The book : Eleanor, a successful young artist, buys a house in New Hampshire (where Joyce Maynard was born), meets Cam, has three children… It was her dream, to create the home she missed so much. We follow the destiny of Eleanor, from the 1970s to the present day, in this tumultuous family fresco, nourished by drama, betrayal, love and emotion. Between trauma and heartbreak, it is also a magnificent and sensitive story of forgiveness and a smile on life. BB
where the happy people lived by Joyce Maynard, Editions Philippe Rey, 560 p., €24. Translated by Florence Lévy-Paolini.
In the comics/graphic novel category
Queenie, Godmother of Harlem by Elizabeth Colomba and Aurélie Levy
The authors: just like the heroine Queenie, Elizabeth Colomba, a well-known painter in the United States, specializing in postcolonial art, is of Martinican origin and immigrated to Harlem. Fascinated by the story of Stephanie St. Clair, she resolved to make known the one who took the name of Queenie. She thus teamed up with Aurélie Lévy, novelist and documentary filmmaker, who worked for a time in Hollywood.
The book : a fast-paced, cinematically cut black-and-white graphic novel about the exceptional and wonderfully amoral fate of a black female gangster who builds a criminal empire in 1920s Harlem while fighting for the civil rights, before confronting the Italian mafia… and succeeding, fortune made, in retiring from gambling and dying of old age! MTH
In the Bio/story category
Memorial Driveby Natasha Trethewey
The author: Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 2007 and Poet Laureate of the United States in 2012 and 2013 (an honorary title awarded in Anglo-Saxon countries), Natasha Trethewey signs with Memorial Drive an autobiographical story of splendid and painful beauty.
The book : the daughter of a mixed couple, she grew up in 1960s Mississippi, where her family watched the Ku Klux Klan burn a cross in their backyard… To the violence of racism – of faith in white supremacy – came then added that of feminicide: her stepfather, a Vietnam veteran, murdered her mother in 1985. For thirty years, the one who thought she wanted to forget at all costs will in fact have sought – and found – how to find her way to a magnificent book who gives a voice both to the wounded child that she was and to a woman who fought to the end, like a heroine who does not say her name, to regain her freedom. MTH
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Grand Prix de l’Héroïne-Madame Figaro 2022: and the winners are…