Contrary to rumor, this literary season 2020 appears prolific with the release of no less than 511 novels. Difficult to see clearly to choose the right books to read.
Phew, Stanislas Rigot , the fabulous bookseller of Lamartine , made a first selection for us by deciphering the authors we were impatiently waiting for and by unearthing the little nuggets that risk making (a lot) of noise. Our season 1 of novels to devour urgently.
The indispensable feminist
The good novel: Daughter of Camille Laurens - Gallimard (€ 19.50)
The pitch. Laurence Barraqué grew up with her sister in the 1960s in Rouen. “ Do you have children? ”, We ask his father. “ No, I have two daughters, ” he replies. Being born a boy would have made things easier. A boy is always better than a bitch. Then Laurence became a mother in the 1990s. Being a daughter, having a daughter: what to do?
The opinion of the bookseller. “It is the sensational return of Camille Laurens who returns to Gallimard and will be the card of the new school year. Through the story of this little girl, we will follow the fate of French society. It's funny, brilliant, poignant, with a crazy energy, while delighting demanding readers with its great literary quality. But since she is part of the Goncourt jury, she cannot get the prize… ”
The historical biopic
The good novel: The bedroom of the dupes by Camille Pascal - Plon (22 €)
The pitch. Welcome to the Versailles of Louis XV to surprise his passionate love with the Duchess of Châteauroux . Subjugated by this woman who refuses the better to seduce him, the young king cedes everything to him to the point of offering his mistress a place that no favorite had yet occupied during his reign. A fairy tale that would have lasted if Louis XV, gone to war, did not fall seriously ill in Metz ... The beautiful Marie-Anne - adored by the king, jealous of the Court, fear of the ministers - will she have to comply suddenly the knee facing the Church and submit to the reason of state?
The opinion of the bookseller. “ It's a brilliant and fierce story with knife-edge dialogues reminiscent of the universe of Dangerous Liaisons and in the film Ridicule by Patrice Leconte . Already awarded the Prix de l'Académie française in 2018 with L'été des quatres rois , Camille Pascal returns with a book on love intrigues and political plots under the court of Louis XV. The Duchess of Châteauroux is a woman who will have the first real political role in the history of the mistresses of the King of France. It must be said that she succeeds her two sisters in the king's bed and wants to stay there! ”
The good novel: Yoga by Emmanuel Carrère - Pol (22 €)
The pitch. It all starts with a yoga and meditation course with the project of a “ smiling and subtle little book on the yoga . "So far so good ... An extramarital affair and depression later, here is our favorite writer in HP diagnosed with bipolar stage 2, where ketamine injections and electroshock have replaced sun salutations .
The opinion of the bookseller. “ How does a yoga workshop that was to serve as the subject for his new novel lead Emmanuel Carrère straight to being locked up in a psychiatric hospital ? For lovers of the writer, this book is a concentrate of Emmanuel Carrère which combines the intimate and the universal. Behind the autofiction, this novel has everything to carry this literary re-entry and perhaps finally obtain the Goncourt! ”
The good novel: Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead - Albin Michel (€ 19.90)
The pitch. In the segregationist Florida of the 1960s, young Elwood Curtis takes Martin Luther King's message of peace very seriously. Ready to enter university to do brilliant studies, he sees his dreams of the future vanish when, following a miscarriage of justice, he is sent to a reformatory at the Nickel Academy.
The opinion of the bookseller. “ What a literary shock! Colson Whitehead has already been awarded the Pulitzer in 2020, having already been awarded the same prize in 2017 with Underground Railroad . A feat that says a lot about the power of the author. There is a dull and overwhelming anger in this novel which has all the advantages of a future American classic. ”
The great first novel
The good novel: What you need at night by Laurent Petitmangin - La Manufacture de Livres (€ 16.90)
The pitch . It is a family story and a plunge into the hearts of three men. In this case, a widowed worker father who raises his two sons alone but with love. The years go by and the children grow up… And do not necessarily take the expected paths.
The opinion of the bookseller. “ A first novel, a real gem of this literary re-entry which has already won the Stanislas Prize ! The subject did not interest me much a priori ... But you absolutely must read this book on the father-son relationship, overwhelming. The correctness of tone of this militant father PS who tells with his sometimes boorish but powerful words the death of his wife, the love he has for his kid who is in the process of tipping towards the extreme right and denies his values ... That's wonderful !"
The great heroine of the new school year
The good novel: Liv Maria by Julia Kerninon - L'iconoclaste (19 €)
The pitch. Liv Maria Christensen is a lonely child born on a Breton island , between a coffee-keeper mother and a Norwegian sailor father. Over the summer, she discovers love with her English teacher in Berlin … But at the end of adolescence, her parents die in an accident. So Liv Maria invents a life in Latin America . A new love stabilizes her in a mother's life in Ireland . Until her desire for freedom catches up with her!
The opinion of the bookseller. “Another great portrait of a woman, through an intimate epic full of pitfalls, which will reject conformism and pay a heavy price. ”