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Books to read in September: Solange's choice
Every month, Solange from Librairie La Page gives us her reading recommendations. Here is her September selection:
Chanson douce, by Leïla Slimani
Parents looking for a nanny, do not read this novel. It opens with a horrible crime scene: two young children murdered, the boy is dead, his sister will die as a result of her injuries. The nanny, who killed them, messed up her suicide, she will survive. The mother is in a state of shock.
These first three terrifying pages dazzle the reader and, at the same time, awake his desire to discover the story leading to the murders, a story to explain such a dramatic scene.
One could think that there will be no suspense in the following chapters, as we are directly given the identity of both the murdered and the murderer. Nonetheless, there is in this thriller a constant tension, a long-lasting threat.
Leila Slimane depicts the aspirations and contradictions of a Parisian educated couple, in their 30s, the difficulties of being a mother nowadays, balancing career and children, dealing with compromises. This is also the story of our society, governed by cultural and economic domination.
- Chanson douce, by Leïla Slimani, collection Blanche, Gallimard.
Les Deux Pigeons, by Alexandre Postel
Dorothée and Théodore have just started working and settled in an apartment, in the 12th district of Paris, on 1st April 2005. The novel takes us through the next ten years, with as many chapters. Each chapter approaches a specific theme, linked to the couple. Housing, food, wedding, children, sports, social life, sex life, etc. Through these topics, a description of the “homo parisianus” way of life emerges, reminding us of Perec’s novel, Les Choses, novel that is actually referred to in the opening pages of the book. However, we laugh a lot more with these Deux Pigeons. Alexandre Postrel describes the shortcomings of our time and our contradictory aspirations. He carefully observes Dorothée and Théodore: they do their best with what they have, fickle and indecisive, but also funny and touching in their failures and disappointments. The chapter about the food is particularly hilarious. And when they decide to become famous writers, it gives rise to funny exchanges about Houellebecq, Michon and Modiano (amongst others).
The author’s cheerful irony makes this ordinary couple, with an ordinary life, the heroes of a unique and original novel.
- Les Deux Pigeons, by Alexandre Postel, Gallimard
You can find these books (and many more!) at Librairie La Page in South Kensington.