French literature Archive

Leïla Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny and the Perils of Female Desire

“The baby is dead. It only took a few seconds.” So begins Leïla Slimani’s French bestseller, translated into English by Sam Taylor. The thriller won France’s Prix Goncourt—Moroccan-born Slimani is only the twelfth woman to win the award—and uses an American news story as its source.

The Unbearable Rancidity of French Letters

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The first woman to be admitted into the French Academy was Marguerite Yourcenar, in 1980. Nowadays, as we’re nearing the Academy’s 400th anniversary, the proportion of women remains dismally low, and the members are overwhelmingly white.

The End of January: Suicide and Rape in Nothing Holds Back the Night

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Having discovered her mother’s body several days after her suicide, Delphine de Vigan is moved to write not only her own recollections of her mother, but to graft a whole context for a woman who repeatedly came together and apart in Nothing Holds Back the Night.