Archives de catégorie : Literary

Le Grand prix de littérature américaine 2021 attribué à Joyce Maynard

Où vivaient les gens heureux de Joyce Maynard, paru en août 2021 aux éditions Philippe Rey dans une traduction de Florence Lévy-Paolini, vient de remporter Le Grand prix de littérature américaine. Ce prix récompense chaque année un roman américain paru depuis le 1er janvier et se distinguant par ses qualités littéraires de premier plan.

Le jury a vu dans l’ouvrage « un livre d’une grande subtilité où Joyce Maynard explore magistralement la gamme des sentiments, à travers le portrait d’une femme des années 1970 à aujourd’hui. A la fois réflexion sur le couple et sur la famille, ce roman restitue avec finesse tout ce dont sont faites nos vies, face à un monde et une société en perpétuel mouvement. »

Le roman :

Lorsque Eleanor, jeune artiste à succès, achète une maison dans la campagne du New Hampshire, elle cherche à oublier un passé difficile. Sa rencontre avec le séduisant Cam lui ouvre un nouvel univers, animé par la venue de trois enfants : la secrète Alison, l’optimiste Ursula et le doux Toby.

Comblée, Eleanor vit l’accomplissement d’un rêve. Très tôt laissée à elle-même par des parents indifférents, elle semble prête à tous les sacrifices pour jses enfants. Cette vie au cœur de la nature, tissée de fantaisie et d’imagination, lui offre des joies inespérées. Et si entre Cam et Eleanor la passion n’est plus aussi vibrante, ils possèdent quelque chose de plus important : leur famille. Jusqu’au jour où survient un terrible accident…

Dans ce roman bouleversant qui emporte le lecteur des années 1970 à nos jours, Joyce Maynard relie les évolutions de ses personnages à celles de la société américaine – libération sexuelle, avortement, émancipation des femmes jusqu’à l’émergence du mouvement MeToo… Chaque saison apporte ses moments de doute ou de colère, de pardon et de découverte de soi.

FIRE SEASON de Leyna Krow

A feminist novel upending the archetypal « western » in the vein of The Sisters Brothers meets Inland, set in 1889 in Washington Territory on the heels of a great fire about an inadvertently dangerous psychic and the two conmen she meets on her path to redemption.

by Leyna Krow
‎Viking, Summer 2022
(via Levine Greenberg Rostan)

For the citizens of Spokane Falls, a fire that destroyed their frontier boomtown was no disaster; it was an opportunity. Set in 1889 in Washington Territory on the heels of this event, FIRE SEASON tells the story of three characters who seize big opportunities the fire brings, though in different ways and to different ends. Barton Heydale, manager of the city bank, uses the ensuing chaos to embark on schemes of fraud, forgery, and kidnapping. Quake Auchenbaucher, a conman, suddenly finds his career in manipulation jeopardized. And there’s Roslyn Beck, an alcoholic prostitute with the ability to see the future and with whom both men fall madly and dangerously in love. Unbeknownst to them, she has a deviant influence that, for better or worse, can change the world. As their paths collide, diverge, and collide again, these three come to terms with their own needs for power, greed, and control — leading one to total ruin, one to heartbreak, and one, ultimately, to redemption.
In the incandescent, genre-bending spirit of Eleanor Catton’s
The Luminaries, Karen Joy Fowler’s Sarah Canary, or Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, with notes of Ottessa Moshfegh’s quick wit and wicked imagination, FIRE SEASON is playful, creepily magical, and historical, yes, but not in the traditional sense. The setting is a darkly whimsical approximation of what the Pacific Northwest was like at the end of the 19th century, and the characters may seem better suited to the modern literary fabulism of someone like Aimee Bender or Kelly Link than the wild west.

Leyna Krow’s first collection I’m Fine, But You Appear to Be Sinking (Featherproof Books, 2017) was a finalist for The Believer Book Award. Krow lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband and two children. She is at work on her second novel.

Photo credit: Young Kwak


A literary self-portrait in which the author’s entire life is revealed through the brief moments of accident, absurdity, and loss which have made it.

by Jesse Ball
‎ Catapult, TBD 2022
(via Sterling Lord Literistic)

Photo by James Foster

Inspired by Édouard Levé’s novel of the same title and format, Jesse Ball haswritten a slim, uninterrupted stream of compact reflections with no obvious order, that brilliantly construct AUTOPORTRAIT. These reflections range from the mundane, the crude, and the crass, to the mysterious, poignant and the brutally beautiful. With spare prose, marked by its humility and precision, Jesse Ball has rendered life, memory, and existence so vividly there are many places where the reader wonders if it is their own existence being described. The novel, which borrows its name from Levé’s, and which preceded Levé’s final work published mere weeks before his tragic suicide, deals with similar themes in a similar register. However, Ball’s voice is entirely his own, and the speaker of this novel is frighteningly honest, while inspiring a deep, tender fondness. Among the many treasures of this piece, Ball includes comments on his difficult upbringing, his marriages, his drug use, his teaching and pedagogy, the things he likes about cats and rats, and the things he adores about gullies and sumps.
Ambitious, serious, witty, and provocative, Jesse Ball’s latest work is a disciplined novel that chronicles the chaos of a life. AUTOPORTRAIT, both through its form and its content, suggests that human beings are made up of contradictions, and encourages us to contradict ourselves more often.

Jesse Ball is the author of fourteen books. His works have been published to acclaim in many parts of the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. He is on the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, won the 2018 Gordon Burn Prize, the 2008 Paris Review Plimpton Prize, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and is a 2017 Granta Best Young American Novelist. Ball has also been a fellow of the NEA, Creative Capital, and the Guggenheim Foundation.


A masterful, adventurous new novel set in nineteenth-century Sudan from Caine Prizewinning, New York Times Notable author Leila Aboulela.

by Leila Aboulela
Atlantic Monthly Press, February 2023

Hailed as “a versatile prose stylist” (New York Times) whose work “shows the rich possibilities of living in the West with different, non-Western, ways of knowing and thinking” (Sunday Herald), Leila Aboulela has been longlisted for the Orange Prize (now the Women’s Prize for Fiction) multiple times, and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award. She has been praised by J.M. Coetzee, Ali Smith, Aminatta Forna, and Anthony Marra, among others, for her rich and nuanced depictions of Islamic spiritual and political life.
Her new novel, RAMMED EARTH, SCORCHED RIVERS, is a searching and deeply necessary look at the complex relationship between Britain and Sudan, Christianity and Islam, colonizer and colonized. Recounting the years leading up to the brutal British conquest of Sudan in 1898, this is the story of British General Charles George Gordon—known as Gordon of Khartoum, he defended the city against the Sudanese during the 1884 siege of Khartoum—and the fight to remove him from power. Told from the varying perspectives of a military rebel, a colonial judge, and a woman enslaved, this historical novel paints a complex portrait of the “tragic Victorian hero” who ultimately proved a disappointment to the Sudanese who trusted him, and an obstacle to the thousands of men and women who—against the odds and for a brief time—gained independence from all foreign rule through their will-power, subterfuge, and sacrifice.
Written from a modern Sudanese perspective, Aboulela’s latest novel examines the trials of war and the dynamism of human courage through the voices of society’s most unexpected heroes.

Leila Aboulela is the first ever winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. Her novels include The Kindness of Enemies, The Translator (longlisted for the Orange Prize), Minaret, and Lyrics Alley, which was Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages. She grew up in Khartoum, Sudan, and now lives in Aberdeen, Scotland.

AVALON de Nell Zink

From one of America’s most original voices comes a profound and singular story about a young woman searching for her place in the world.

by Nell Zink
Knopf, June 2022
(via Writers House)

After her mother joins a Buddhist colony and dies, Bran’s southern California upbringing is anything but traditional. Raised by her “common-law-stepfather” on Bourdon Farms—a plant nursery that doubles as a cover for a biker gang—Bran spends her days tending plants, slogging through high school, and imagining what life could be if she were born to a different family. And then she meets Peter—a beautiful, troubled, and charming trainwreck of a college student from the east coast—who launches his teaching career by initiating her into the world of literature and aesthetics. As the two begin a volatile and ostensibly doomed long-distance relationship, she searches for meaning in her own surroundings—attending disastrous dance recitals, house-sitting for strangers, and writing scripts for student films. She knows how to survive, but her happiness depends on learning to call the shots.
Exceedingly rich, brilliantly observed, and delivered with Zink’s masterful humor, AVALON
is the irresistible story of one teenager’s reckoning with society at large, and the ways art and desire can clarify all that goes overlooked and cast aside.

Nell Zink grew up in rural Virginia. She has worked in a variety of trades, including masonry and technical writing. In the early 1990s, she edited an indie rock fanzine. Her books include The Wallcreeper, Mislaid, Private Novelist, Nicotine, and Doxology, and her writing has appeared in n+1, Granta, and Harper’s. She lives near Berlin, Germany.