French literature is not just about the classics. In recent years, a new wave of French authors has emerged, who are experimenting with different genres, forms, and themes, and creating works that challenge the expectations and conventions of the literary world. Two of these authors are Hervé Le Tellier and Olga Ravn, whose novels The Anomaly and The Employees have received critical acclaim and international recognition.
The Anomaly is a novel that follows the aftermath of a bizarre event: a flight from Paris to New York lands twice, with the same passengers and crew, three months apart. The novel examines the implications of this anomaly for the individuals involved, as well as for the world at large. The novel is a mix of thriller, comedy, and philosophical reflection, and it won the prestigious Goncourt Prize in 2020.
The Employees is a novel that takes place on a spaceship called Six-Thousand Ship, where humans and humanoid objects coexist. The novel is composed of testimonies from the ship’s employees, who are asked to respond to a series of questions about their work and life. The novel explores the themes of identity, agency, and belonging, and it challenges the boundaries between human and non-human, organic and artificial, natural and unnatural. The novel was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2021.
Both novels showcase the innovation and diversity of contemporary French fiction, and they offer a glimpse into the possible futures of humanity and society. They are also examples of how French literature can transcend national and linguistic borders, and reach a global audience through translation. According to Michael Sheringham, a professor of French literature at Oxford University, “Contemporary French fiction is very rich and varied, and it reflects the diversity and complexity of the French society and culture. It also engages with the global issues and challenges of our time, such as technology, identity, migration, and climate change. It is a literature that is both local and universal, and that invites the reader to question and rethink their own assumptions and perspectives.”
If you are interested in reading more about contemporary French fiction, you can check out some of the french books. You might discover some new authors and books that will surprise and delight you, and that will expand your horizons and enrich your mind. As the French writer Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”