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Another thriller released this
spring comes from Peter Steiner, best known as a cartoonist for the New
Yorker. His debut novel,
A French Country Murder, is
reportedly suspenseful, full of conspiracies, and psychological
intrigue…and it’s set in a small French village. I'm
looking forward to curling up with this one!
Cara Black writes compellingly about le
ventre parisien via her Franco-American detective, Aimee LeDuc.
Murder in the Bastille
is the latest in this series
that is set in various quartiers of Paris (Belleville,
Sentier, le Marais).
Sebastien Japrisot's A Very Long
Engagement, an award-winner in France and one of
Amazon's top picks for the 1990s, is a wonderfully evocative story
set in France just after World War I.
Pleasing Hour, Lily King's first novel, is the story of a young au
pair in Paris who faces more than just the experiences of living in
another country with another family.
Sebastian Faulks has written a trilogy of sorts, starting with Birdsong,
set in WWI Europe, then following up with Charlotte
Gray and The Girl at the
Lion d'Or, both set in France during the WWII
Gustav Sabon's The
Fly-Truffler: A Novel , brought to our attention
by Dan Sullivan, was well reviewed in the NY Times last
spring...have not yet read it, it's on the list, but the concept as well
as the setting is very inviting.
Hella Haas' In a Dark Wood
Wandering comes highly recommended by a friend. Set in France
(and Europe) during the years leading up to the Hundred Years War, this
novel does a wonderful job with history and atmosphere. Very compelling.
Diane Johnson first wrote Le
Divorce and then Le
Mariage. Both are good reads, with casts of
interesting characters and insights into how and why French women
are the way they are.
Chocolat: A Novel
by Joanne Harris, set in a small village in France, features a woman and
her young daughter coming into town to set up a chocolaterie, with
all sorts of delicious repercussions. It's been made into a movie, which
has the same feeling of a confection. Another Harris novel is
Five Quarters of the Orange, this one set in a village on the banks of the Loire.
F. Scott Fitzgerald Tender Is the
Night...the Côte d'Azur during the Golden Age.
Edith Wharton The Reef...also
set in southern France...not her finest, but...
Poet W. S. Merwyn's fabulous trilogy of short novels/long stories
in The Lost
Upland, set in the southwestern highlands of
France, contains beautiful writing and evocative scenes.
What's to say about Peter Mayle and his fiction: Anything
Considered, Hotel Pastis,
Cezanne? These novels are light, slight,
entertaining and chock full of French joie de vivre à la Mayle.