Best French books of the last 30 years

[Yes, Obooki’s been a bit bored with the idea of blogging recently. Probably he thinks there are better things to do in life].

Le Monde published a while back (about a month ago, in fact) a list of the best French books of the last 30 years (I feel it’s a pity they had to do it, like some sort of prize, a book per year). Like the similar Spanish list I have somewhere to the right, I feel I should have a go (despite non-translations) of reading them (or at least, something by the relevant authors). (Not, of course, that I seem to need any incentive to indulge in French culture).

Anyway, I got a bit of a head-start on this one:

  • I’ve read three of the books already (Rouaud, Rambaud and Duras)
  • I’ve had a go at 2 of them (Sollers [his only book in English – read about 10 pages, absolute drivel*], and Pennac [a bit lightweight for me, became bored])
  • I’ve read other books by 8 of them (Echenoz, Modiano, Simon, Ernaux [still reading], Darrieussecq, Houellebecq, Quignard, Germain)
  • I’ve tried to read some Le Clézio
  • And I at least have some Némirovsky and Chamoiseau.

So I’ll probably conclude this about as quickly as my other projects.

*I’d heard, before embarking on Femmes, that Sollers was an avant-garde writer. About 10 pages in – as so often when I’m told by people (particularly people on the internet) that X is an avant-garde writer – I found myself wondering what the hell was so avant-garde about this, it seemed perfectly normal to me. And dull. – It’s interesting to note then, as I understand from the comments on the list, that this is acknowledged as his least avant-garde novel. I guess though, if I’m to read any of his other works, I’ll have to do so in French.


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