Books written by French authors. Usually written in French.

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The Mad and the Bad


You know just enough about the characters — no more, no less. You are provided with just enough background information. It keeps the story tight and moves things along in ways that longer works often struggle with. Perhaps if you look closely you can see the traces of a formula, but it is applied so skillfully that it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment or impact of the narrative.

The Blood of Others


I think it’s obvious by this discussion alone that this is an incredibly complex concept to even touch on, let alone explore in depth, but de Beauvoir does just that in a way that is accessible to the reader and tied to the driving plot. If you’re interested in the mechanics of building conceptual narratives into concrete storylines, this novel is definitely a must-read.

Suite Française

20th Century

These two novels were written in 1942, before their author was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz where she died of typhoid. The novels and notes were kept in a suitcase and taken by her daughter when she fled from the Nazis during the war. After that, the suitcase remained unopened until 1998. This is a review of Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française.