Angela Carter, Hervé Le Corre, Woody Allen… The week’s paperback selection

A triangular love story in the 70s, a Bordeaux thriller, Woody Allen’s autobiography, a first novel… Our selection of the week in the paperback section.

s “Love” by Angela Carter

Of the woman who had been his friend for almost twenty years, Salman Rushdie wrote, in 1992, in the columns of the New York Times, the funeral oration in these terms: With the death of Angela Carter, English literature has lost its great witch, its witch queen. » Oneiric, magical, cruel, neurotic, sometimes morbid, Angela Carter’s fictional universe evokes as a whole Sade and Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Perrault and Shakespeare, Baudelaire and Huysmans, the spells of gothic aesthetics and the decadent charms of the dark romanticism and symbolism. . Suffice it to say that by opening any of the fifteen or so works she left behind, one is a thousand leagues away from the more or less satire-tinged realism with which the modern English novel is readily identified. In the literature of the past, Angela Carter drew a repertoire of motifs and symbols that she used to construct a body of work that is nonetheless fully contemporary, that is, imbued with the achievements of psychoanalysis, challenging the established order, and resolutely feminist. Love (1971), the most realistic but no less fierce and raw of these stories, depicts a triangular love affair, set in the conformist, provincial England of the 1970s. Carter explained that he was inspired byAdolf, The Rsentimental oman » of Benjamin Constant, of which she wanted ” write a kind of modern and popular version ».
ed. Christian Burgois/Title, €9.50.

r Salt and Smoke by Agathe Saint-Maur

It is in a certain way the mirror of a generation that Agathe Saint-Maur offers us, for her first novel. Of a certain generation in any case, that of Parisian students of the Sciences Po type, evolving in well-to-do, even bourgeois (but leftist) circles, who work on their presentations, live, go out, drink (even more), argue, love each other – by the way, a beautiful evocation of everything that happened in the world so far away before confinements and curfews… The young novelist (born in 1994) limits her gaze to two characters, Samuel and Lucas. Your married life. And the death of Lucas, immersed in an “antifa” movement, who crossed paths with Manif pour tous activists at the time of the approval of the law on marriage for all in 2013, and succumbed to the injuries resulting from the fight. Ingeniously constructed, the novel unfolds his story and finely dissects his encounter, his love, his disenchantment, his breakup, his duel, the lack of the other.
ed. Sheet, €8.20.

editors

r “Crossing the Night” by Hervé Le Corre

At 6:22 am, a woman called 17, when she saw the body of a man lying under a bench. In the dead of winter, she was wearing a T-shirt and not moving. It rains in Bordeaux, the lighting is bluish and the flashing lights do not warm the atmosphere. The police commander is called Jourdan. A policeman who knows the night well, the calls for help, the women that his companion has brutally beaten before leaving slamming the door. Sometimes it gets worse, when Jourdan is the first to enter the crime scene where the bodies of three children and their mother lie in the hallway at breakfast time. The reader will follow the daily life of this tired professional who hardly speaks anymore, except to get angry with the hierarchy. But we must also talk about Louise, a single mother, heartbroken, depressed and yet brave in protecting her son. everyone must “spending the night” but the glimpses of dawn will not necessarily be reassuring… The codes of crime novels hold no secrets for Hervé Le Corre, who sneaks into this underworld to describe his loneliness and daily violence. read more here
ed. Shores/Black Pocket, €9.50.

r “By the Way” by Woody Allen

“There is nothing exciting in Woody Allen’s life. » The old affirmation of the journalist Francine du Plessix Gray, according to the main interested party, would still be valid. Except for one episode: the accusation of sexual abuse against the filmmaker made in 1992, and repeated in 2018, by her adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow. Since Woody Allen devotes nearly a fifth of the book to him (hopefully readers of Incidentally won’t have bought it for that), let’s start there. Even if the hundred pages in question seem more like a court file than a literary work. It is both a self-defense where the director evokes, in great detail, the two investigations that acquitted him, and a scathing accusation. We prefer the author for most of the other four hundred pages, when, in the afternoon of a much less “routine” who writes it, is again, through more or less serious digressions and asides, the revolving narrator of his daily life, his loves, his creations and his artistic passions. read more here
ed. The pocket book, €8.90.

r “Expiration” by Ted Chiang

Seventeen stories in thirty years: to say that Ted Chiang is a rare author is an understatement. revealed by the Tower of Babylon, in 2002 it won more awards than Joe Biden from States and was adapted by Denis Villeneuve for First contact. He offers here, eighteen years after the first, a second collection where we find both his extreme intelligence and his questions about science. Time paradox in Baghdad, letter from a scientist from a hyper-mechanized civilization to his children, reflection on how artificial intelligence learns, new technology that allows one’s life to be recorded permanently, free will subject to alternative worlds… every time, Chiang starts from a scientific discovery to take it to its extreme logic and wonder what a memory is or how to live with the machines that we came to love. read more here
ed. Folio SF, €9.40.

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