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Books: 3 nuggets to devour by the fireside

3 Livres A Lire Au Coin Du Feu

Extreme cold and long winter evenings oblige, we dream of a good addicting book that we will not want to let go under any circumstances. Our short list of three little masterpieces to read with happiness.

The mighty novel

The good book: Le passeur by Stephanie Coste at Gallimard (€ 12.50).

The pitch. In a few years, Seyoum has become one of the biggest leaders of the Libyan criminal network which orchestrates the smuggling of migrants in the Mediterranean. Escaped from the dictatorship in Eritrea, without ties or friends, this dealer of human souls treats his pain of living every night on khat and gin… Until the day he falls back on his first love lost in the camps. Who is really the executioner of Tripoli ? From flashbacks of his golden youth in the Eritrean intelligentsia to the nightmare of the smuggling world: what really happened?

Why you will love it. How does a benevolent and loving young boy, especially the son of a progressive minister, become a cynic who has made hope his business? This is the question that Stéphanie Coste asks with this captivating and wonderfully paced first novel by infiltrating the brain of a man-executioner, with the same kind of literary device as Olivier Guez in La Disparition by Josef Mengele , chief doctor of 'Auschwitz. Nothing disposed the young Seyoum to be gripped by horror if not geopolitical madness, a real tragedy on the African continent. This is where the romantic comes in. Can love save a man? This is the whole question of this real gem, which obviously did not escape the selection of the Closerie des Lilas Prize jury. In short: we are impatiently awaiting the second volume!

The biopic of a New York icon

The good book: Belle Greene by Alexandra Lapierre at Flammarion (€ 22.90).

The pitch. New York in the 1900s. A young girl passionate about rare books plays with fate and climbs all the ranks to become the director and curator of the fabulous library of the magnate JP Morgan . Belle da Costa Greene, “ Belle Greene ” for those in the know, appears as the darling of the international aristocracy. But in reality, this powerful woman who drinks, goes out and collects lovers is cheating. Because the flamboyant collector who turns all heads is hiding a terrible secret… She is African-American but has decided to hide it at all costs.


Why you will love it. Belle will be the highest paid woman in America and has made a pact with her family: never to have children so that her origin remains unsuspected and her reputation unshakeable. It is the fate of an avant-garde, in love with freedom, who refuses to let herself be defined by her filiation in a segregationist America that the best-selling author Alexandra Lapierre portrays to us here and who inevitably refers to the chef-d ' work by Philippe Roth : La tache. Empowerment, determinism, racism: this biography resonates with all the issues of the time by transporting us into the frenzy of the 20s and 30s.

The intimate portrait of the greatest French impressionist

The good book: Three nights in the life of Berthe Morisot by Mika Biermann at Anacharsis (12 €).

The pitch. It's summer. Berthe Morisot , impressionist painter, and her husband Eugène Manet (brother of Edouard), leave Paris for a part of the countryside. The couple put down suitcases and easels in a country house, a haven of summer sweetness conducive to all kinds of nocturnal experiments… Sensuality and the awakening of desire are key.

Why you will love it. One year after the success in bookstores of the little gem of the German Mika Biermann Three days in the life of Paul Cézanne , the author sneaks into the privacy of Berthe Morisot as if you were a little mouse in his life. It's very simple, in this novel, it feels like infiltrating a masterpiece from the Musée d'Orsay to discover what is going on behind the bedroom door. Fans of style, of an almost Proustian writing will be in ecstasy in front of this super sexy, fluid, almost erotic little text, divinely written by this professor of art history. Because if Berthe has the opportunity to paint nudes, her intimacy is very different and the summer warms the desires of this young woman more sensual than it seems.

Also discover La famillia grande by Camille Kouchner and the new novel by Leïla Slimani .

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