A synopsis of the books everyone is talking about (if you don’t intend to read them)

As a true Parisienne, you know it’s difficult to go out for dinner without knowing one single title of the 567 novels of the new literary season. Worse, for the utmost of chic, you need to know THE books to read, from the new Samuel Benchetrit to Salman Rushdie as well as Christophe Boltanski. How about some flash cards? What you should say even if you have not read any of those golden nuggets of the moment :

The most trendy book: Reviens by Samuel Benchetrit

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Unless you have spent your holidays in a very remote area without network service or wifi, you know that Samuel Benchetrit has just tied the knot with our national Vanessa Paradis. If this reason is not enough to persuade you to read the latest novel of the author-film director, you should read Reviens just so you can have the reference of a hilarious book. Because in addition to being the man of the moment, Samuel Benchetrit also displays a refined and grating humour in his novel between fiction and auto-fiction where he recalls the lopsided life of a writer with no inspiration. Fascinated by TV reality (and more precisely Four weddings and a honeymoon on TF1), harrassed by his ex-wife worried about their son, off on a world tour, incapable or writing his manuscript on Pline the Elder, in love with a stuttering nurse... The narrator (author?) makes us dive in the very special universe of Samuel whom we adored in La nuit avec ma femme (2016).

Reviens, Samuel Benchetrit, Grasset, 252 pages, 19€

Le livre le plus intello: Le guetteur by Christophe Boltanski

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After being awarded the Femina prize for La Cache (2015) in which he introduced Myriam, the imperious grandmother of Christophe himself, this time the journalist went digging in the direction of his mother Françoise who, after her death, appears to him as an enigma. A nervous old lady, lonely and paranoid, Christophe discovers his mother’s sad end of life and regrets not having gone to visit her more. While sorting through her belongings, he discovers outlines for detective novels. Why did his mother not continue to write? In parallel, like puzzle pieces, the narration retraces the youth of a certain Françoise, a student strongly involved with FLN at the beginning of the 1960s... Reading through the pages, and thanks to the clever construction of the novel, one discovers the past of this women which her own son ignore, as well as the powerful of a stranger who live so close...

Le guetteur, Christophe Boltanski, Stock, 288 pages, €19

The most political book : The Golden house by Salman Rushdie

 

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Rule number 1: you cannot ignore the existence of Salman Rushdie, the cult British author of the Satanic Versets (1988) which made him (and still remains) the target of a fatwa. Why is he a cult author? Already because he has become the figurehead of the combat against religious obscurantism, then because he is at the origin of a new literary genre, “magic realism”, mixing reality, myth and fantasy. Once you have this recap in mind, you can pretend you read the latest born of this author by reading (and memorizing) this: The Golden House is a political satire of the United States. Through a story around a rich Indian family (a father and his three sons) exiled in New York, the author runs the gamut of the political climat and economical climate in America, from Obama to Trump including his wife Melania (incarnated by a young Russian who is married with the father for his money). With a fantasy touch that adds dimension to reality, Salman Rushdie is rather adamant when it comes to caricaturing individuals obsessed with many, devoid or all moral and political conscience. The result? A brilliant work that intelligently questions identity, truth and lies.

The Golden House, Salman Rushdie, Actes Sud, 416 pages, €23

 

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