Meeting Commissaire Adamsberg

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas Translated by David Bellos Although not my first read of French author Fred Vargas (that was The Three Evangelists – reviewed here), this was my first encounter with her detective, Commissaire Adamsberg. SWHMD is the second novel featuring Read More

A double dose of Simenon including his most autobiographical roman dur…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan by Georges Simenon Last month I had the opportunity to meet John Simenon, Georges’s son at an event celebrating the prolific Belgian author and his work. Apart from all the Maigret novels, Simenon was famed for his romans durs (hard Read More

A double helping of Maigret

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. One of the great things about Georges Simenon’s Maigret novels is that they’re short. Each features a story told in full, but achieved within 160 pages or so – in this he resembles Muriel Spark. No words are wasted and there is no flowery Read More

Irene – Alex – Camille: The Verhoeven trilogy comes full circle

Camille by Pierre Lemaitre Translated by Frank Wynne I was meant to be reviewing this for Shiny New Books‘  in the ‘Extra Shiny’ edition (coming to you on May 12th).  I loved it, it is definitely a ‘Shiny’ book, but it is the final part of a trilogy and I felt it would be too difficult to Read More

Camille Verhoeven Irene Frank Wynne Pierre lemaitre maclehose

Irène by Pierre Lemaitre Translated by Frank Wynne Irène is chronologically the first novel in Pierre Lemaitre’s trilogy featuring Parisian police detective Commandant Camille Verhœven, yet in the UK it was published second, after Alex and is followed this spring by the third volume, Camille. I reviewed Alex in 2013 (click here) and it was the best crime thriller I read all that Read More

A French charmer

The List of My Desires by Grégoire Delacourt Translated by Anthea Bell As can be seen from my annual stats review (here if you like that kind of thing!), the country I visited the most to read in translation from last year was France. I suspect that’s going to continue this year too, for I have Read More

A new historical saga – not for me…

The Brethren by Robert Merle I love the idea of getting stuck into reading an historical saga, I really do. I know I can do sagas spread over many novels – just not historical ones it seems. In particular, I started reading Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles with good intentions here but never progressed onto the Read More

"This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway … This is the road to hell"

The A26 by Pascal Garnier Quite a few bloggers (notably Stu and recently Guy) have already discovered and loved the novels of Pascal Garnier, the French author of some decidedly bleak, black comedies of the purest noir! Having acquired a couple of them, I picked his short novel The A26 to begin my own exploration. Set in Read More

My new reviews at Shiny New Books

The third issue of Shiny New Books came out on Monday. Now it’s time for me to highlight some of my reviews that appear therein and point you in their direction. As it ended up, I didn’t write as many reviews for this edition, but I shall still split them into a few posts in Read More

Book Group Report – Jean Teulé

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé Our book group read for July into August was actually a re-read for me. We’d wanted something quick and light as due to our schedules we only had three weeks between meetings instead of our usual four or five. I had read Teulé’s 2007 novel, published in English translation Read More

Bought it on Wednesday, read it by Friday, blogged on Saturday

Alex by Pierre Lemaitre Translated by Frank Wynne Alex is one of those thrillers that has been quietly gathering a word of mouth momentum since its publication earlier this year. Now the paperback is out, it is going to go stratospheric as Gone Girl did, (my review of that here). A French teacher friend has been recommending Alex to our book Read More

From the archives May 2013: HHhH by Laurent Binet trans Sam Taylor

I reviewed this originally on my old blog in two stages – combined into one post here: Halfway Hangups: HHhH is the book du jour, the one that’s getting the blog-inches, mostly giving it glowing reviews. It won the Prix Goncourt in France, and Mario Vargas Llosa thinks it “magnificent.” For anyone who hasn’t encountered it yet, HHhH Read More

The case of the nasty young man

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Dirty Snow by Georges Simenon Translated by Marc Romano and Louise Varèse For most of us, Simenon is famous, justly, for his creation of Maigret, the pipe-smoking French detective that appeared in over a hundred novels and short stories from the 1930s Read More

A Promising Pair

Introducing Peirene Press Peirene Press, named after a Greek nymph who turned into a water spring which was drunk by poets for inspiration, is a new publishing house specialising in contemporary European literature of novella length in translation. I was lucky enough to win a copy of their first novel from Librarything, and was offered Read More