The Girl from the Chartreuse

I was poking around at an 80% off sale at one of my favorite book stores when I came across a book that caught my eye: The Girl from the Chartreuse by Pierre Peju. I’d never heard of it before, but I thought it would look pretty on my bookshelf (yes, I judge a book by its cover!)  so I decided to add it to my purchases.

The Girl from the Chartreuse (Fr. “La Petite Chartreuse,” translated into English by Ina Rilke) is a French novella that won the prestigious Prix du Livre Inter in 2003, and was made into a French film in 2005.

It starts off ominously: “Five in the afternoon. It will be exactly five in the afternoon under the bitter cold November rain when the van of the bookseller Vollard (Etienne) spurting down the avenue collides head-on with a little girl who runs smack into his path.”

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Love gone awry

Since I joined the A-Z Challenge, I’ve crossed out three names on the list already. I first crossed off Trenton Lee Stewart with the first two books of the Mysterious Benedict Society, which I enjoyed tremendously. I managed to cross off two more: Emile Zola with For a Night of Love (Z); and F. Scott Fitzgerald with The Rich Boy (F).

The two books are published by Hesperus Press, a sophisticated imprint I’m growing fond of (I have Jonathan Swift’s Directions to Servants and a couple other books from Hesperus Press). Hesperus specializes in hard to find novellas and short stories of famous authors, with each book running to only 100 pages or so. I got a bunch of them on sale last year, and while I don’t normally like mass market paperbacks, Hesperus books are a welcome addition to my library — I love the concept behind the imprint and the elegance of the book design.

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The Pigeon (Patrick Suskind)

I’m a big fan of Patrick Suskind’s novel Perfume, and I never thought I’d come across another one of his works, until I got a notification from my Bookmooch account that a copy of his novella, The Pigeon, was available for mooching. It turns out another local moocher (and a reader of this blog!), Iya, had just put up a copy in her inventory, and I wasted no time mooching it (Thank you Iya!!!).

Suskind is one of the most interesting [living] authors I’ve encountered — there is very little information about him available; he has shunned the literary scene, and he doesn’t grant interviews or allow photos of himself to be taken.

Perfume is Suskind’s best known work, but has also written the bestselling play Double Bass; the novellas The Pigeon, The Story of Mr. Sommer, and Three Stories and a Reflection; as well as a 2006 essay collection entitled On Love and Death.

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