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Going to Europe? Austria Gluten Free Travel Bundle. Europe Gluten Free Travel Bundle. France Gluten Free Travel Bundle. Germany Gluten Free Travel Bundle. Greece Gluten Free Travel Bundle. But also because of the constant flicking between the watcher who is us and the watched, those dying inside the towers, unaware of the mythic status about to attach to them.
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I can't choose just one Fred Vargas book. Everything I've read by her has been wonderful. Her main character, Commissaire Adamsberg, is endearing, complex and super-sharp under a dreamy exterior; her mysteries are intricate, bizarre and often unsettling. Vargas uses her academic background in archaeology in unexpected ways which, nevertheless, work perfectly within her stories; there's also a strong vein of humour running through her work.
If I had to choose a favourite Vargas book, it would be, hmm, Debout les morts. And then there's the wonderful Pars vite et reviens tard, with its exploration of Breton culture in Paris, and evocations of the Black Death. Vargas is the best contemporary writer of crime fiction in France, and bears comparison with the greats in any country. This is a small, glittering gem, covering the last ten years of the life of Ravel as he begins his grand tour of the United States.
It is filled with humour and pathos and the minutiae of the life of the artist. It left me breathless. A beautiful, moving and wonderful book. Though it is little more than pages long, this book packs more of an emotional punch than almost anything else I have ever read.
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A distillation, not just of love, but of hate too. A beautiful, painstakingly constructed chaos of a novel centred around a shanty town in the shadow of the eponymous refinery on the island of Martinique. In many ways it outdoes Gabriel Garcia Marquez but with the more rigid framework of a more or less linear storyline. Possibly the greatest joy is the use of language and for this enormous credit must go to the tranlsators. A Shandy-esque metafictional caper, where Jacques and his master — en route for nowhere in particular — talk of life and love.
Think Don Quixote without all the dreadful Duke and Duchess stuff, and with an upbeat Enlightenment feel. Charming, very French, very funny, tender, human - beautiful story. MH has no equal in his portrayal of essential human expereinces such as ageing, loneliness or desire, or in his sober analyses of the atomisation brought by today's consumer society.
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He's an author who is not afraid to look some very uncomfortable realities in the face. While it is perhaps not Zola's most well-known work, it has astounding relevance even to this day in its description of how loss-leading superstores and big business destroy communities.
All this told in the traditional stunning style that Zola is so known for. A spectacularly funny franchise of which a too-small collection of short stories is all that's widely available. Satirising detective fiction of its time including a parody of Sherlock Holmes, Leblanc also shows an ability to weave a thrilling mystery while keeping it cool and funny. Helpful hints : "CAT.
CHAT - Domestic cat whose edible meat has a flavour halfway between that of rabbit and hare. Legend has it that in the cook-shops the cat is often used in the making of rabbit fricassees. Such wine is rather expensive but it is the only one that is a natural, complete and living food. The flesh of well-nourished rats can be, it seems, of good quality, but sometimes with a musky taste. Rats nourished in the wine stores of the Gironde were at one time highly esteemed by the coopers, who grilled them, after having cleande out and skinned them on a fire of broken barrels, and seasoned them with a little oil and plenty of shallot.
Here's looking at one of them looking at you, kids.
A late 19th-century French perspective on English and their literature from the Saxons to Tennyson. Eloquent, opinionated, insightful-- especially the stereotypes: "The fact is, that our logic, the Latin, fails them. Their mind does not march by the smooth and straightforward paths of rhetoric and eloquence. It reaches the same end, by other approaches.
It is at once more comprehensive and less regular than ours. It demands a conception more complete, but less conclusive. It proceeds, not as with us, by a line of uniform steps, but by sudden leaps and long pauses. It does not rest satisfied with a single idea drawn from a complex fact, but demands the complex fact entire, with its numberless particularities, its interminable ramifications.
But the narrative is not chronological; scenes from the past and the 'future' of incidents which occur at the camp sit cheek by jowl, the contrast with happier times making the concentration camp-based vignettes all the crueller. The narrative's 'present' is that of the prisoners packed into the train carriage on the long, long journey to Buchenwald. His understated approach means that his flash-forwards to camp memories are all the more gut-wrenchingly powerful.
One particular scene involving snow, and savage dogs was incredibly difficult to read; I cried, lots. The book itself is about limbo, in a way; the seemingly never-ending train journey, the suspension between pre-war memories of love and excitement, and war-time horrors.
But that is hardly to say that Le grand voyage is an unsatisfactory journey; on the contrary, it is gripping, poignant and very, very powerful. The birth of modern literature in France - a total reinvention of French prose breathless rhythm, use of slang. Like Dos Passos with a filthy mouth.
Received Goncourt prize a couple of years ago. Beautiful study in three parts of what it means to me a woman of African descent in today's France by one of the country's best stylists. He's so topical!
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Civil unrest among workers; property speculation; boom and bust; devious politicians Witty, insightful, clever, well-written, original. Surreal without being smart-alecky. A good yarn, deftly and tightly told. Impressive essay on today's pop culture and mass media by one of the country's leading sociologists published in From Lady Gaga to Slumdog Millionaire, Martel look at the "glocalisation" model, or how the Western culture phagocyte the rest of the world's cultures of resell it internationnaly.
Much better and much more articulate critics have explained why it such a great book, so I won't embarrass myself trying. It just is imagine italics there great. This book is one of those voyages into the unknown of your own self and of Huysman's fantasy.. I have read it at least 50 times since I first discovered it as an undergraduate and each time different corridors in my mind are blown open with new images.
It's decadence, symbolism, psychoanalysis, hedonism, and so much more, it's a revelation. It's also so much better in the original than in translation, but not easily accessible in either! I read it in French so cannot comment on any translations. The book is a masterclass in tragicomedy. As with many of Zola's works it examines the plight of the working class in 19th century France. It features dashed hopes, alcoholism, domestic abuse, unrequited love, latchkey kids and a dry cleaning service.
Basically she's like an alcoholic 19th century Heather from Eastenders. By turns funny, tragic and fascinating, I have reread this book and cannot reccommend it highy enough. A bunch of no-hopers are recruited by a French broadcaster to write an original, ongoing soap opera, to be broadcast during the graveyard shift in order to fulfil state requirements for French-language programming. With nothing to lose, they create a wildly inventive show filmed on a shoe-string, which gradually becomes more and more popular, until it is the talk of the country, on la une of every newspaper, and in a prime-time slot.
What happens next is Saga is a delight - Benacquista has a fantastic sense of the absurd, and can be very, very droll. It's a modern tragicomedy par excellence and should be read by everybody, immediately. It's an almost perfect cynical novella. Beautifully drawn character who surprises us at the end which didn't seem to be coming. Why no poets here? These two are the very best of the very best in the world, ever. Rimbaud a precocious brat of a genius, Baudelaire plumbing the depths of the soul, gothically and classically at the same time.
I live in France and like reading classic french literature in translation and I've recently been reading Amelie Nothomb in french and the excellent cultural magazine MUZE , but generally don't go for books written by ex-pats or those having a "life experience" in France, however this little novel made me laugh a lot, because it doesn't take itself seriously, but is full of recognisable moments with a bit of comic fantasy thrown in.
I've given a copy to a few people as a gift and it has been equally enjoyed. Trois femmes puissantes telles the stories of three individual women of franco-african origins who decided to fight against humilation and for their dignity. The book actually carries a strong message -- that of women in African societes and communities being able to say "no" and taking their respective lives into their own hands.
Trois femmes puissantes unfortunately hasn't seen an English translation yet even though it won the prestigeous Prix Goncourt in One of the great experimental works of literature of the twentieth century, but don't let that put you off. I read this 23 years ago and it's still my favourite book. The novel's structure is an ingenious puzzle and tells the stories of the inhabitants of a Parisien apartment block in great detail.
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I was too dim to solve the puzzle when I read it but that didn't matter. Just immerse yourself in the extraordinary layers of detail, bizarre plot diversions and enjoy the way in which is it manages to be profoundly melancholic and incredibly funny at the same time. I'll re-read it one day because I missed so much the first time.