Synopses & Reviews
Les Éditions de Minuit, publisher of Marguerite Duras and Alain Robbe-Grillet, rarely publishes a debut novel. Jean Echenoz, current star of this revered French literary house and enthusiastic fan of Julia Deck, confesses that he didnt send his first novel to Minuit because the publisher is too demanding…too good for me.” Yet thirty years later, a first novel published by Minuit has gripped French readers and taken the literary world by storm.
Viviane is both an engrossing murder mystery and a gripping exploration of madness, a narrative that tests the shifting boundaries of language and the self. For inspiration, Deck read the work of another Minuit star, Samuel Beckett, because, as she says, he positions himself within chaos and gives it coherence.” This breakthrough novel, nominated for the Prix Femina, the Prix France Inter, and the Prix du Premier Roman, is sure to become a contemporary classic. Linda Coverdale, one of the most celebrated French translators working today, has created a faithful and propulsive English text that has been revised and approved by the author.
"On the surface, Viviane Ã‰lisabeth Fauville appears unassuming: she is 42 years old, recently separated from her husband, and on maternity leave from her PR job at a Paris concrete company. In Deck's debut, originally published by France's prestigious Les ditions de Minuit (which seldom publishes first novels), Deck presents a protagonist who, although she blends into the commuter-clogged Metro cars and sidewalks of contemporary Paris, is struggling to make sense of her implication in her psychoanalyst's murder. The novel filters this gruesome event through Viviane, an unreliable narrator who thinks she sees her deceased mother on sidewalks and in taxis. Meanwhile, the novel shifts from second-, to third-, to first-person, to first-person-plural narration ('There's this child on our hands and we wonder how it happened'), suggesting that Viviane suffers from a split personality disorder. All this seems proof enough that Viviane is as guilty as she is unstable. But Deck resists closing the case, and this ambiguity, along with certain narrative techniques, like opening two consecutive chapters with almost identical sentences, create uncertainty in the reader. Deck's novel, which was widely lauded in France, complimented by Coverdale's unobtrusive translation, burrows deftly and unrelentingly into a troubled mind. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
was born in Paris in 1974, of a French father and British mother. After graduating from the Sorbonne, where she obtained an M.A. in literature, she spent a year in New York working for several publishing houses, then moved back to Paris where she currently freelances for various magazines.
Linda Coverdales most recent translation for The New Press was Jean Echenozs 1914. She was the recipient of the French-American Foundations 2008 Translation Prize for her translation of Echenozs Ravel (The New Press) and the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for her translation of This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun (The New Press). She lives in Brooklyn.