Books: our February 2023 favorites

  • The Mirror LakeOdile Lefranc

♥♥♥ First novel. Angry, they haven’t seen each other in twenty years. When Hannah, exiled in Australia, learns of her mother’s death, she returns to Paris with many unresolved questions: who is this woman who was born in Dresden under the bombing in 1945? What secrets is he hiding? Why didn’t he tell her his father’s name? In search of her origins, Hannah will make a long journey, which will lead her from Germany to Bali in the footsteps of Walter Spies, an artist whose lush paintings, hanging in her childhood room, became her dream. An exciting and bright kaleidoscope novel. IB

“The Mirror Lake”, by Odile Lefranc, Viviane Hamy Éditions, 256 p., €19.

  • Najat or SurvivalRania Berrada

♥♥♥ First novel. Stuck in her Moroccan village with a brother who condemns her determination to study, Najat succeeds in her master’s degree in biology. First step to freedom… The second consisted of leaving for Europe after finding someone who had emigrated and got his papers. It is impossible to hope to work in a Morocco plagued by unemployment and corruption. But the road is littered with potholes and Najat takes the blows of fate. Fadeless. Without giving up. By painting a picture of an ordinary heroine who will be abused in life, Rania Berrada highlights the humiliations of which North African women are victims, in their country as in ours. A novel that makes you think. IB

“Najat or Survival”, by Rania Berrada, ed. Belfond, 336 p. €20.50.

  • Girls like usDaphne Palasi Andreades


“Girls like us”, by Daphné Palasi Andreades, ed. Stopovers, 224 p., €22.

  • The Sniper, his wok and his gunChang Kuo-Li

♥♥♥ pocket. Alex’s specialty, purely Taiwanese? The fried rice that excites the taste buds of the inhabitants of a small Italian village. But his real job is sniper. As he must remove a compatriot from Rome, he realizes that he is not alone in the area. Even worse: another contract killer also plans to kill him. We are not used to Taiwanese thrillers. This one, put together, is a little gem of black humor. IB

“The Sniper, His Wok and His Rifle”, by Chang Kuo-Li, ed. Police folio, 368 p., €8.40.

  • The Fugitive but Real Life of Pierre Lombard, VRPChristian Estebe

♥♥♥ pocket. He has climbed all the ladders of success, he has a beautiful woman in his arms who is as ambitious as he is, an uplifting lifestyle. And then there is the drop of water. So, Pierre Lombard closed the door of the big publishing house, his position as director, and began the downfall that would eventually bring his ideas back into place. A disillusioned but rather funny look at the world of publishing. FF

“The Fugitive but Real Life of Pierre Lombard, VRP”, by Christian Estèbe, ed. I read, 224 p., €7.50.

  • dear titsJennifer Hayden

♥♥♥ Graphic book. This graphic novel ships heavy. 352 pages, it was necessary to approach womanhood through its most envied, admired, mocked features: the breasts. In this case the authors, who took forever to point the ends of their nipples. Growing, big business. Becoming an adult, falling in love, facing hardships, cancers of loved ones and herself, of her breasts… Jennifer writes her life in liberating self-mockery, distilling here and there existential questions . A beautiful and touching journey through the life of a woman who can become us. FF

“Darling Tits”, by Jennifer Hayden, ed. The graphic city, 352 p., 25 €.

  • At the end of disastersJoann Sfar

♥♥♥ Graphic book. Mental load, fairness, sexism, politics… Joann Sfar observes our society, the way we move in it, and crunches us with delight in the pages of this great album, all in delicacy. These snapshots were published in lieu of Sempé’s drawings Compatible with Paris at the height of the Covid crisis, it floats like a relationship between two designers. It’s beautiful and insightful. FF

“At the end of disasters”, by Joann Sfar, ed. Gallimard, 96 pages, €24.

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