Very early in the morning of August 31 1997, Princess Diana was killed when her car crashed at high speed into a pillar in a road tunnel near the Pont de l’Alma in Paris. Evidence at the crash site suggested that the driver of the car might have lost control after side-swiping a slower-moving car, a white Fiat Uno, near the tunnel entrance. It was not until 2006 that the driver of this car was identified as a young man of Vietnamese origin, but at the time that Laurence Cossé published this novel in 2003, the Fiat still posed a mystery, leaving the author to imagine a story of her own.

August 31, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Mystery/Suspense, Translated

A NOVEL BOOKSTORE by Laurence Cosse

A few months ago, someone told me he’d just finished one of the most amazing books he’d ever read. He was visibly shaken by the idea that he’d found the book by accident and could so easily have missed the book altogether. “What if I went through life without reading this novel,” he mused, and this was followed by another thought, “how many other novels as good as this am I missing?” From this point, the conversation moved on to the observation that readers are saturated by publicity for some books while others are quietly published and subsequently sink and disappear without a trace. This conversation came back to me when I read A NOVEL BOOKSTORE, a book written by Laurence Cossé and translated by Alison Anderson. On the surface level, this is a mystery, but on a meta-level, A Novel Bookstore is an indictment of the cannibalizing publishing industry, the mass marketing of “taste,” and a subtle examination of fascism. All this in just around 400 pages. A NOVEL BOOKSTORE plays out just like an excellent French film–great entertainment on a surface level, but yet some deep philosophical statements resonate in the background.

August 31, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, France, Mystery/Suspense, Reading Guide, World Lit, y Award Winning Author