Literary start in 2021: The booksellers’ list

Livres Hebdo revealed, Monday, September 27, its 17e Books Hebdo list of back-to-school novels preferred by booksellers in French and foreign literature. The 353 professionals interviewed by Xerfi / I + C are in favor this year Bastard child of Sorj Chalandon (Grasset) and Klara and the sun of Kazuo Ishiguro, translated from English by Anne Rabinovitch (Gallimard).

The record of the winners can be found on September 30 in LH The Magazine n ° 13. In total, 25 publishers are represented, eight of which are present on several occasions in the ranking: Gallimard (6 titles), followed by Actes Sud, Albin Michel, Grasset (3 titles each), then by Flammarion, Gallmeister, L’Iconoclaste and Stock (2 titles each).

Top 5 of French literature

  • Bastard child of Sorj Chalandon (Grasset)

In a very personal novel, the author looks back on his childhood, when he listened to the exploits of his father Jean, resistant during the Second World War. But contradictory testimony turns everything upside down and reveals a chilling collaborationist past.
Ranked 5e place in the Top 50 fiction this week, Bastard child is present in the first selection of Goncourt and is a finalist for the Landerneau readers’ prize.

  • Alone in her home of Cecile Coulon (The Iconoclast)

Praised by booksellers in 2019 for A beast in paradise (The Iconoclast) – novel for which she had also won the literary prize of World, Cécile Coulon anchors her eighth novel in the XIXe century. Aimée, 18, married Candre Marchère and moved to the Domaine de la Forêt d’Or. Very quickly, she comes up against the silence of the rich landowner of the Jura and the almighty power of her servant, Henria. She seeks her place in this abode haunted by the ghost of Aleth, the first wife. Until the day when Emeline, who came to give flute lessons, shatters this closed world.
Alone in her home was classified at the 8e place of the Top 50 fiction this week.

  • The door of the journey of no return of David Diop (The threshold)

Winner of the Goncourt des lycéens in 2018 and first French to win the International Booker Prize three years later with Soul brother (Le Seuil), David Diop stages the arrival of Michel Adanson, a young botanist from the 18th century on the island of Gorée, nicknamed the door of the voyage of no return. Having come to study the local flora, his plans were turned upside down when he learned the story of a young African woman, promised to slavery, who had escaped. Adanson sets out to find her, following the legends and tales that the fugitive has sparked.
Ranked 10e place in the Top 50 fiction this week, The door of the journey of no return is present in the first selection of Goncourt.

  • Postcard ofAnne Berest (Grasset)

In 2003, the writer received an anonymous postcard on which are noted the first names of the grandparents of her mother, her aunt and her uncle, who died at Auschwitz in 1942. She investigates to find the author of this missive and delves into the history of his maternal family, the Rabinovitch, and of his grandmother Myriam who escaped deportation.
Ranked at 4e place in the Top 50 fiction this week, Postcard is present in the first selections of Goncourt, Renaudot and Femina. The book is also selected for Renaudot for high school students and Femina for high school students.

  • My husband of Maud Ventura (The Iconoclast)

In a first novel with high potential, Maud Ventura portrays a wife who, to prove to herself that her husband no longer loves her after fifteen years together, begins to spy on all her gestures. Every day, she methodically notes the signs of disenchantment, the penalties to be inflicted on him, the traps to set for him, going so far as to deceive him to test him. In front of other women, he must be the most neat and the most desirable.
Ranked at 25e place in the Top 50 fiction this week, My husband is present in the first selections for the Prix de Flore, the Medici, the December and the Premier novel award.

Top 5 of foreign literature

  • Klara and the sun of Kazuo Ishiguro, translated from English by Anne Rabinovitch (Gallimard)

The 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature returns to science fiction in Klara and the sun. It features Klara, a high-performance robot created to keep children and adolescents company. It is displayed in the window of a store from where she observes passers-by while waiting to be chosen. The opportunity finally presents itself but the humanoid could be disillusioned.
Klara and the sun is classified at the 22e place of the Top 50 fiction this week.

  • Dust in the wind of Leonardo Padura, translated from Spanish by René Solis (Metailie)

Winner in 2015 of the Princess of Asturias Prize, the most prestigious Spanish literary prize, Leonardo Padura retraces the adventures of a group of friends in Cuba during the second half of the XXe century. Having become doctors, engineers or publishers, they suffered the consequences of the fall of the Soviet bloc and went into exile in Miami, New York, Buenos Aires or even Madrid.
Classified at 38e place in the Top 50 fiction this week, Dust in the wind received the Transfuge prize for the best Latin American novel 2021. The work is also present in the first selections of Femina and Medici.

  • When the last tree of Michael christie, translated from English by Sarah gurcel (Albin Michel)

In his first novel, Michael Christie recounts the fate of the Greenwoods, an American family darkened by an accumulation of secrets, taboos and half-truths, is told over four generations, from the 1930s to the 2030s. A family fresco on transmission and the sacrifice, with the structure evoking the rings of a tree trunk, which paints the portrait of a nature in danger.

  • Calm our storms of Jean Hegland, translated from English by Nathalie Brue (Phebus)

Jean Hegland illustrates the journey of two women who are completely opposed. Anna studies photography at the University of Washington while Cerise, a high school student, lives in California under the influence of her mother. They both accidentally get pregnant. Anna chooses to have an abortion while Cerise keeps the child. When they reunite ten years later, these decisions have affected the course of their lives.

  • Shuggie Bath of Douglas stuart, translated from English by Charles Bonnot (World)

Awarded the Booker Prize 2020, the first novel by the Scottish Douglas Stuart is set in Glasgow in the 1980s. Agnes Bain seeks solace in alcohol. One after another, all his relatives abandon him except Shuggie, his 8-year-old son, who has unconditional love for him. But the little boy, himself plagued by psychological difficulties, is not spared by the neighborhood.
Shuggie Bath is present in the first selection of the Medici.

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Literary start in 2021: The booksellers’ list

Hank Gilbert