Photo of the Week

Paris-Update-EiffelTower

The Eiffel Tower seen from a rooftop in Montparnasse on a smoggy day. © Paris Update

 

Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Women’s March on Paris
> The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, women will march in cities around the world. Starts at the Parvis des Droits Humains, Trocadero, at 2pm, crosses the Pont d’Iéna and ends at the Mur pour la Paix at 4:30pm.

Behind closed doors
> Book now to visit places in Paris that are normally closed during Paris Face Cachée, including a lab trying to find cures for genetic diseases, located in a glass building with a panoramic roof terrace. Various venues, Paris and suburbs, Jan. 27-29.

Book signing
> Irish author Donal Ryan signs copies of his latest book, The Thing About December. Irish Cultural Center, Paris, Jan. 19.

Late-Night Magritte
> The Magritte exhibition at the Centre Pompidou will stay open until 10pm from Jan. 19 through the last day, Jan. 23.

Drinkathon
> Paris Cocktail Week offers master classes, special restaurant menus with cocktail/food pairings and other festivities. Various venues, Paris, Jan. 21-28.

Young European photographers
> The Festival Circulation(s) features emerging photographers. Centquatre, Paris, Jan. 21-March 5.

Picasso at the airport
> The exhibition "Picasso Plein Soleil" presents works made by the master while living on the Côte d’Azur. Espace Musées, Charles-de-Gaulle Airport 2E, Jan. 21-June 15.

Cheap cinema
> During the Festival Cinéma Télérama, you can see a selection of last year’s best films for only €3.50 each with the purchase of Télérama magazine (Jan. 11 and 18 issues). Various cinemas, Jan. 18-24.

Free subtitled French films
> My French Film Festival offers frees streaming of French movies. Through Feb. 13.

Frank Capra Retrospective
> The great American director in the spotlight. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Feb. 27.

Sex, Lies and Corruption
> The Hollywood Décadent festival features such films as Joseph Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor, Valley of the Dolls, and Vincente Minnelli’s Nina. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Jan. 25.

Chinese New Wave
> Nouvelles Voix du Cinéma Chinois screens films by a new generation of directors beginning around the turn of the 21st-century. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Feb. 20.

Winter sales
> Retail sales all over France: through Feb. 21.

Ice-Skating Rinks
> Where to ice skate in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais.

English plays in French
> Two plays by Harold Pinter, Ashes to Ashes and L’Amant, directed by Mitch Hooper, are onstage at the Essaïon through Jan. 24, 2017.

 

Books - New Books Roundups

 

La Rentrée Littéraire Sept. 2005

On the Prolixity of French Writers

Contenders for most shocking novel and top spot on the best-seller lists: Amélie Nothomb and Michel Houellebecq (photo © Catherine Cabrol).

It’s time for that peculiarly French tradition: the rentrée littéraire. Every fall, when France comes back to life after the long summer holidays, an avalanche of new books is published, timed to be eligible for the various literary prizes. This year the count for novels alone is 663, with 449 of them by French authors.

Michel Houellebecq's La possibilité d'une île (Fayard) kicked off the season with great fanfare. In his new novel, the king of French provocateurs imagines a character named Daniel 1, who resembles the author in many ways, and then moves the action forward a couple of millennia to tell the stories of Daniel 24 and Daniel 25, his cloned descendants. Bad-boy Houellebecq's new novel is stirring up less controversy than usual; it focuses not only on his favorite subject, sex, but also on sects and a new preoccupation for the 47-year-old writer, aging.

Houellebecq is fighting it out for the top place on the best-seller lists with Amélie Nothomb, whose new novel, Acide sulfurique (Albin Michel), has turned out to be as controversial as Houellebecq’s usually are. The Paris-based Belgian writer who made her name with Stupeur et Tremblements (Fear and Trembling) takes the concept of a reality show to what some might say is its logical conclusion: participants are rounded up in the streets of Paris and sent to a concentration camp, where they engage in forced labor and are tortured by “kapos” in front of the TV cameras. Each week, spectators vote to decide which one of them will be killed off.

Marie Darrieussecq has published a novel nearly every year since the publication of her first, Truismes, in 1996. Told from the point of view of a woman who turns into a sow, it created a sensation. This year, she weighs in with the more prosaic but no less introspective Le Pays (POL), the story of a

young woman who, with her husband, moves back to the area she grew up in, where she must deal with the devastated members of her family while awaiting the birth of her own baby.

The family also takes center stage in Olivier Adam’s Falaises (Editions de l'Olivier), in which the narrator contemplates the cliffs (falaises) from which his mother jumped to her death and reviews his life in the span of one night.

Lydie Salvayre’s La méthode Mila (Le Seuil) looks at the family from a Cartesian point of view. The narrator, who is caring for his dying mother, questions the value of philosophy in the face of human tragedy and eventually finds solace elsewhere, in the less rational methods of the clairvoyant Mila.

One of the first novels that is receiving much attention is Hédi Kaddour’s Waltenberg (Gallimard), a sort of literary spy novel/love story that takes in most of the major political events of the 20th century, including both world wars, and ends with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Voilà: a glimpse at six of this year’s fall literary harvest; you’re on your own for the other 557.


Heidi Ellison

© 2005 Paris Update

Reader Reaction

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to respond to this article (your response may be published on this page and is subject to editing).