Literary Agents and the Novel in 1996

by Jean-Philippe Postel, William Cloonan
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Title:
Literary Agents and the Novel in 1996
Author:
Jean-Philippe Postel, William Cloonan
Year: 
1997
Publication: 
The French Review
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70
Issue: 
6
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796
End Page: 
806
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English
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Literary Agents and the Novel in 1996

by William Cloonan and Jean-Philippe Postel

PARIS'S

QLJARTIERSAINT GERMAINIS CHANGING. All that remains of le Drug- store is the pharmacy, and rumor has it that Flammarion's bookstore, La Hune, has been up for sale. Gallimard has already sold le Divan. Several years ago the venerable Editions Robert Laffont deserted la place Saint- Sulpice for the Avenue Marceau, leaving behind as that square's principal attraction, Yves Saint Laurent, Rive Gauche. Laffont's move to an area fa- mous for its maisons de haute couture may not have set a precedent for pub- lishers, but Saint Laurent's trendy boutique is another matter. The quartier Saint Germain, once the hub of Parisian intellectual life, is undergoing a transformation into a fashion center, as tourists who once combed its pri- cey cafes in hopes of a glance at Jean-Paul Sartre or comparable literary luminaries, now arrive in search of soldes in upscale designers' shops like Sonia Rykiel.'

A less obvious, but perhaps more significant change in France's artistic life is the growing importance of the literary agent. Whether American, or American trained, agents at first dealt primarily with translation rights, but now they are beginning to represent French authors, and in the process altering or destroying what had previously been a sacrosanct relation be- tween artist and editor. Predictably, French publishers are in general not very pleased with this situation, and Viviane Hamy probably speaks for most when she describes this new arrangement as not being "une pratique franqaise." Hamy points out that agents' fees cut into a profit margin in an industry whose resources are usually quite limited. Literary publishing has never been very lucrative because of the numerous costs entailed in transforming a manuscript into a book and then providing for its distribu- tion. She explains that a first novel must sell at least one thousand copies just to meet the publishing costs, and only after that figure has been passed can a press begin to thlnk of paying royalties. On the average, a maison d'kdition will pay a fledgling novelist 8% once three thousand copies are sold; 9% after six thousand copies, 10% for ten thousand, and then 12% for any additional sales. Not too many first novels fall into the 12% category.

796

Despite the financial constraints which weigh on publishing houses, les Editions Viviane Hamy published this year one of its finest novels to date. Claude Habib's Prtfere l'impair tells of a bored middle-psychiatrist who wanders into an affair with a younger woman. The main character's ennui is as omnipresent as it is parodic: "Je ne sais pas5 quel age j'ai arrCt6 Fa, moi, raconter ma vie. Fatigue d'avance. Trop long, trop com- plique. Trop d'episodes et trop de gens" (73). In this novel the banality of the story is overcome by the excellence of its telling.

Few novelists in France or any country can live off their royalties, but in 1995-96 three members of that marvelous minority published fiction. Le Clezio's La Quarantainedescribes the transformations of people quar- antined on a little island off the coast of the Ile Saint Maurice. This novel is nineteenth century in its sweep-its array of characters, dramatic situa- tions, and passions-yet twentieth century in its sensibility. La Quaran- taine is a long meditation on marginalization, racism, and the extent one can go to avoid confronting either. Michel Tournier's charming Eltazar ou la source et le buisson offers a fictional perspective on the perplexing issue of why Moses was not permitted to enter the Promised Land. With the latter-day Moses an Irish pasteur, and Canaan the state of California, Tournier provides theological speculation with a light touch.

The imagination of Le Clezio and Tournier tours the world, while the fictional universe of Patrick Mondiano is largely confined to Paris. In his more ambitious works his novels might embrace the entire city; in a more restrained mood he will confine his stories to several streets or quartiers. In Du plus loin de l'oubli most of the action takes place in a nar- row area in and around le quartier latin; brief trips to London and the rive droite are as exotic as things get. The plot is patented Modiano: boy meets mysterious woman, wins her, loses her, rediscovers her only to lose her again-with almost everything happening at night. The results are also predictably Modiano: a beautifully haunting tale.

This year's prize winners may not all become famous, but for awhile at least, they will be rich. Calixthe Beyala won the Grand Prix de I'Acadimie Francaise for Les Honneurs perdus, a novel which treats the adventures of a young Camerounaise who leaves her native Couscousville, armed only with a certificate of virginity, to try to make a life for herself in Belleville. For the second year in a row, the Mtdicis had two lauriats: Jacqueline Harpmann for Orlanda, whose title betrays its inspiration, and Jean Rolin for LfOrganisation,a Bildungsrornan gone awry amid the chaotic politics of the 1970s.

This year's judges did not apparently consider happiness to be very rentable. GeneviPve Brisac took the Ftmina for Week-end de chasse iz la mtre, a story of a divorcee spending Christmas Eve with her son and her memo- ries of a putatively joyful youth. Pascale Roze narrowly won the Goncourt for Le Chasseur Ztro, a tale of a young woman haunted by the death of her father, killed in a kamikaze attack during the war. The Renaudot went to Boris Schreiber for Un Silence d'environ une demi-heure, a melancholy auto- biographical roman-fleuve that spans the greater portion of this century.

JerBme Lindon has always been one of Paris' most independent editors. His attitude toward agents, at least as he explained it to the French Re- view, is one of indifference. The Editions de Minuit does not deal with agents because it does not publish works that would attract them. Its audience may be limited, but extremely faithful, so as a result Minuit has little need for American marketing techniques, nor, for that matter, very much publicity at all.

Franqois Bon's Parking is probably destined for a small readership. This is a work that started out as a twenty-six minute monologue for televi- sion, and concerned a man who had abandoned a woman with his two children. In this published text Bon provides the original version, and then explains how the subject evolved in his head. He goes on to discuss his intense reading of Greek tragedy, and finally offers a second version for three actors. More than anything else, Parking provides some insight into the work habits of an important writer who has not received the rec- ognition he deserves.

Certainly, Jean Rouaud, a Minuit author, already has a large audience. His Le Monde 2 peu pr2s is an often funny evocation of a young orphan coming to maturity in the 1960s and 70s in "ce monde A peu prPs dans lequel j'evoluais depuis mes deuils en sQie et l'abandon de mes lunettes ne me permettait pas encore de l'apercevoir avec certitude" (231). The hero of Christian Oster's Paul au tklkphone also has vision problems, but if he did not he might not have provided readers with such a drole fantasy based on the narrator's inability to see his own bizarreness. Antoine Volodine may not be as well-known as Rouaud, but he is one of France's best novelists. His Le Port inte'rieur, with its main character, a failed revo- lutionary called Breughel hiding in Macau to avoid an assassin named Kotter, conjures up memories of La Condition humaine at the same time as it demonstrates that the political novel retains its power in contemporary France.

Denis Tillinac's Dernier verre au Danton is also political, but it is not a novel. Tillinac, a member of the kcole de Brive and a self-proclaimed auteur de droite, has written a fascinating account of his activities as editor of La Table Ronde and an advisor to Chirac during the last presidential elec- tions. Tillinac is informative and funny whether the subject is politicians or artists, and being himself something of both, he readily perceives the pretensions of each camp: "Vieux vice de pays de robins et de scribes: en changeant de mots on croit changer les choses" (315).

Politics takes a darker, non-partisan hue in Pascal Quignard's collection of essays, La Haine de la musique. In his aphoristic title-essay he refers to the role of music in the concentration camps, muses on the harm music can do, and draws the sadly apposite conclusion that "L'art n'est pas le contraire de la barbarie" (241). As grim as is the vision of the modern world that emerges from this volume, it nevertheless contains some of Quignard's finest essays.

Publishing essays is an act of heroism on the part of an editor, since even those by so established an author as Quignard will probably not sell enough to recoup printing costs. Given this situation, the activities of les Editions Verdier are all the more impressive. In PlutSt que d'en pleurer Gil Jouanard proposes an ironic series of portraits h La Bruy2re of persons real and imagined who share an interest in the arts and a han- kering for some form of immortality. Jouanard has sought in this slim volume to illustrate how "le drame humain est constitue d'une myriade de pitoyables details resolument farcesques" (lo), and he has largely suc- ceeded. Pierre Michon's Le Roi au bois is also a portrait, a somber de- scription of a servant who never really appreciates that the "vieux fou" he works for is the painter, Claude Lorrain. Franqois Bon's C'est toute une viedefies classification as either fiction or investigative journalism since it partakes of both. It recounts his two years of teaching writing once a week in a little village in lfHerault, "une zone de choc" (7),where the effort to describe daily events ultimately has more of an effect on the teacher than the students.

Les Editions Verdier has little use for agents, but the editor, GQard Bobillier, did describe an interesting alternative that sometimes works for smaller houses such as his. He pointed out that occasionally one of his texts finds a foreign outlet, not because of an agent, but due to the good offices of a translator. Because of the efforts of the American trans- lator, Wyatt Alexander Mason, Pierre Michon's Maitres et serviteurs (1990) will be published in English by Mercury House.

Pierre Michon has devoted a large portion of his career to portraits of lit- erary figures or members of their entourage, but this year he is not the only writer to indulge this interest in novels that draw heavily on pas- tiche. Alain Gerber published Quatre saisons h Venise which is a fictional account of four famous artists' sojourns in that wonderful city, and their love for the same, ageless ve'netienne, Renata. His pastiches of D'Annun- zio, Hemingway, Visconti, and Italo Svevo are admirable in their excess, which is probably why these portraits ring of truth. Here is Visconti to Renata: "Tous les hommes qui, a l'heure actuelle, ne sont pas amoureux de toi vivent dans le peche" (192). Less pleasant in every sense is Jean- Pierre Chabrol's Les Aveux du silence, a nasty, incriminatory picture of a trendy psychiatrist destined for a brilliant career in France and the United States. Maryse Conde's La Migration des ccl?urs owes as much to Jean Rhys as it does to Charlotte Bronte. Conde's Caribbean version ofWuthering Heights traces a deadly web of passion that moves through longstanding family rivalries, race and class conflicts, and even into reincarnation cults. The language of this novel is as seductive as the emotions it describes.

The only physical passion the main character in Gisirle Pinau's L'Exil selon Julia knew was brutality, a brutality she did not find in books, nor in the recesses of her psyche. It came from her husband in Guadeloupe who almost every day would beat her badly. Through a series of circumstances she finds herself in Paris with her children and grandchildren. In this set- ting so far from anything she understands, the illiterate Julia creates a love story, where the passion is not for a person but a place, the beautiful island of her origins to which her progeny realize they must return.

The situation is just the opposite in Isabelle Tarry's Emportez-moi sans me briser Paris. The main character, a professional killer exiled in New Mexi- co, eventually returns to his native Paris where he briefly finds happiness in an affair. Yet his great discovery is not love; circumstances force him to realize, to his immense chagrin, that indeed there is no place like home. .

Eduardo Manet's Rhapsodie cubaine is an excellent study of exile. Run- ner-up for the Prix Goncourt and winner of the Interallit, this novel may also prove very compelling to Americans, especially those in Florida. It is the story of the Cuban-American exile community living in the Miami area, obsessing about a real and imagined island whose ruler is "Fidel" to both friends and enemies. At times sad, at times funny, Rhapsodie cubaine tells of two generations of Cuban-Americans whose fantasies about an unrecoverable past destroy their present. American readers will have little difficulty spotting the allusions to Gone with the Wind.

Hector Bianciotti has made a career of exile. In Le Pas si lent de l'amour he continues the saga of the social and sexual alienation that has consti- tuted his life. Some readers will follow with fascination the changes in his moods and geographical locations, his penchant to note the myriad details of his existence. Others will find the seemingly endless unfolding of the author's autobiography to be an exercise in pure chatter.

Philippe Labro's La Traverske is also autobiographical; it tells the story of his bout with near-fatal illness. In the past Labro's work has displayed a tendency toward sentimentality, but this is an emotion noticeably lacking in La Traverske. This book describes a very tough-minded contemplation of transience in a climate of fear. Alfonse Boudard's approach to death is different, at least figuratively. In his autobiographical narrative, Mourir d'enfance, the author recounts his youth as a petty hoodlum, yet what dif- ferentiates Boudard's narrative from other such accounts is that he does not imagine himself breaking away from his marginal, asocial existence in order to become a writer. Instead he believes he has become a writer be- cause he has embraced the very attributes that had made him a criminal, and turned them into a source of poetic inspiration. What matters in this text is finally not the death of childhood, but the transformation of child- hood experiences and perceptions into the stuff of literature.

Les Editions Arlka (the name is an amalgam of the first names of two children of the founders) has been publishing fiction since 1986 at the rhythm of two or three novels a year. Arlka is not a large enough house to deal with agents, but questions of size aside, the editors believe that working with a literary agent is ultimately not in an author's best inter- ests. The agent's role in negotiations encourages the writer to abandon his or her personal responsibilities, not just in terms of royalities, but in every aspect of a book's production. Although Arlea publishes relatively few novels, they are noteworthy. Christophe Ferre's La Charnbre d'arnour has an adolescent narrator whose painfully precise and objective lan- guage reveals the absurdity of existence while providing a bulwark against it. The narrative voice in this novel is a brillant achievement. The young narrator of Philippe Mezescaze's Ou irons-nous dirnanche prochain? is dying. Together with an old man he forms an odd couple that drifts together through their remaining days. This novel evokes a mood rather than tells a story; it conjures up a world where the little time that is left to the main characters must be passed in a constant state of low-level divertissement. Picnics with elderly friends, discussions about movie actresses from bygone eras-the main characters' way of facing reality in this novel is to keep it always slightly out of focus.

A consistent focus has characterized all the novels of Nina Bouraoui. Her subject has remained human depravity, particularly as it manifests itself in racism and sexism. In her latest, Le Bal des rnurines a sickly youth initially appears to be telling the story of his bitter mother and his own medical ordeals; in fact his story concerns the house where he lives. During the war his collaborator family allowed their home to be turned into a prison where rksistants were tortured and killed. His mother is the daughter of arnilicien who killed her mother, then somehow managed to elude pursuit and survive the war. He has now returned to the house to die. The house, with its numerous rooms, ill people and labyrinthine cel- lar, seems to function for Bouraoui as the collective memory of Collab- orationist France.

On first reading D. Belloc's Un Collier de chien would also appear to be about World War 11. It deals with a Jewish woman born in Paris during the 1930s, and who, as a result of the historical moment, shares the fear, hiding and constant insecurity so typical of her generation. The collier de chien refers to the "dog tag" she had to wear during the Occupation. Yet this novel is not really about the war or lives destroyed or corrupted uniquely because of it. Un Collier de chien explores the possibility that however great the injustice done to Nadiejda and her family by the Nazis, her destiny, her successes and especially her failures, were never com- pletely beyond her control, and that le collier de chien which marks her identity was in large measure placed there by herself.

A novel that deals with a seemingly more immediate conflict is La Mon- tagne des parjiurns by Pedro Nguyen Long and Georges Walter. The sub- ject is the Vietnam War-the one that began in 1940-and details the flight of a Vietnamese family from North to South. This story, more per- sonal than historical, provides a unique and troubling perspective on a country's destruction.

Les Editions Balland published Un Collier de ckien. Balland is a small house with the rare distinction of having won a Goncourt in 1983 for Frederic Tristan's Les Egaris.However, like many comparable publishers, it has trouble keeping its authors once they have achieved some success. For instance, at an early stage in his career Balland had edited Michel Rio. Balland is also typical of the smaller publishers who seek to avoid working with agents, but since Anglo-American literature in translation constitutes a large part of its stock, this maison d'idition sends its own rep- resentatives abroad in search of new talent. Also, in an effort to assure a high quality in the French literature it publishes, Balland recently ap- pointed Richard Millet, the author of the brilliant La Gloire des Pythre (1995), to oversee its acquisitions in that area.

Les Editions Balland is located at 33, rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts, which is also the address of P.O.L. This latter maison proclaims that "le texte est la vedette," and so refuses to deal with agents handling French authors. The foregoing statement does, however, require some qualification.

P.O.L. is willing to work with agents interested in selling translation rights of French texts to foreign publishers. To this end P.O.L. will pro- vide agents with ipreuves.Consequently, at times the French manuscript will have been sold abroad even before the novel appears in France. A recent example would be Marie Darrieussecq's extraordinary Truismes.

By the end of Truismes the female narrator has literally become a sow (une truie), but like Kafka's Gregor Samsa in "The Metamorphosis," the change is not as radical as one might think. The novel takes place in a not-so-distant future and concerns a woman whose body's regression to an animal state parallels society's devolution. Her thoughts on her physi- cal changes, a series of banalities (truismes),exist in perfect harmony with the dominant politicial discourse of the day. Truismes, one of the best novels of the year, is not a story about corruption, but rather about how natural corruption can appear.

If Truismes imagines a hypothetical future, Leslie Kaplan's Depuis main- tenant: Miss Nobody Knows, recalls an already mythic past: Spring 1968. Quite aside from the novel's literary merits, it is a fine evocation of that era's excitement, confidence and fear. In the midst of the great strike that paralyzed France, "Miss Nobody Knows" is an enigmatic young woman constantly asking questions, while at the same time refraining from judg- ments. She is the "fille femme inachevee qui epouse l'epoque" (28); the novel charts her origins without daring to predict her future.

A P.O.L. writer who has not had trouble being daring is Renaud Ca- mus. His publications in many different genres have never hesitated to decry or espouse a variety of causes. His Le Dipartement de la Lozzre is a history of the region, a tour guide, and at moments a work of fiction. His subject appears quite worthy of Camus' sundry talents and enthusiasms. La Lozirre is the "departement le moins peuple de France, plus faible densite au kilomirtre carre, plus petit chef-lieu, plus petite sous-prefec- ture . . ." (23). Still, how many places can boast of a "musee des Papil- lons" (26). This is a wonderful account of a little-known area, and, at the risk of voicing an opinion that will draw Camus' wrath, it is to be feared that his book will attract many people to la Lozere.

P.O.L. has always been a rnaison willing to take risks (Paul Otchakov- sky-Laurens, the founder, was the first to insist, while an editor some- where else, on publishing Perec's La Vie: mode d'emploi), and choose texts whose literary interest may far outweigh their popular appeal. Christian Prigent's A quoi bon encore des pot.tes? is a strongly worded defense of con- temporary literature and literary experimentation against those who expect that "les ceuvres de la litterature . . . nous guQissent du vertige, qu'elles reorganisent fabuleusement l'insupportable non-sens du reel" (12). For Prigent, the often-voiced insistence on lisibilite' is not a plea for clarity at the expense of obfuscation; it is part of an effort to deny the complication of the present while pandering to the undemanding intel- lects of la socitte' du spectacle. However one chooses to view Prigent's essay, it is worth reading.

L'Ecole de Brive regularly produces the sort of literature that Christian Prigent would decry. Yet for the authors associated with this group (Michel Peyramaure, Claude Michelet, Gilbert Bordes, et al.), the appeal of their novels is not simply the evocation of "la France profonde." Nor is it due to their tendency to set their fiction in a comfortably distant past. In L'Ecole de Brive: son histoire, ses acteurs, Jacques Peucmaurd, an editor chez Laffont, the exclusive publisher of the Brive authors, claims that "les vrais lecteurs . . . en avaient par-dessus la tGte du terrorisme intellectuel parisien qui avait impose, dans les annees 50 et 60, la dictature du 'nou- veau roman"' (23).

Jean-Claude Libourel's Antonin Maillefer won this year's Prix des Mai- sons de la Presse. A good example of a novel associated with L'Ecole de Brive, the story takes place during the early part of this century where the main character, Antonin, lives in the tiny "hameau de Cassagnettes: deux cent trois habitants, une ecole, deux Jesus, et un bstard: moi" (9). The novel combines vivid descriptions of turn-of-the century rural France with a narration of an illegitimate child's love for his mother, an emotion that comes to dominate his life. The historical details are fascinating, and the story often touching. It would, however, be a mistake to underesti- mate the sophistication of this novel and those like it. Whatever one makes of the fiction associated with L'Ecole de Brive, the operative term is not "simple." The Ecole de Brive responds to a real interest on the part of French readers, yet it is also a product of slick marketing. This "ecole" is very much a phenomenon of contemporary France and, as such, merits additional study.

A work that has had a great popular appeal without belonging to any "ecole" is Daniel Picouly's Le Champ de personne. Taking place in a single day, the novel evokes the innumerable fantasies and frustrations of a young boy whose universe scarcely extends beyond his sorry banlieue parisienne. The recreation of a child's fascination with the big (cars), the luxurious (clothes), the inaccessible (girls) is one aspect of the book's ap- peal. So too are the portraits of the boy's parents: a father who neglects buying his medicine in order to have more money for the family, and a mother who presides with kindness and patience over a brood of twelve. Although some of the characters are worthy of Dickens (notably a rag- picker who must have taken Scrooge as a role model), the ambiance is re- solutely French. Daniel Picouly describes the world that Robert Doisneau photographed.

The opinions voiced about literary agents throughout this essay have been largely negative, but if the discomfort created by the expanding role of the agent is widespread, it is not universally shared. Some editors believe the literary agent can potentially make a very positive contribu- tion to French literature.

Olivier Nora is directeur ge'nkrale chez Calmann-Le'vy. He has worked with literary agents, is quite aware of the hostility toward them in France, and finds this attitude seriously misplaced. Nora argues that French publish- ers are often a contemporary version of Les Derniers des Mohicans: they are the slowest to adjust to advances in their field, and thus have somehow managed to run modern publishing houses while dealing with fewer agents than any other Western nation. Nora believes that many of his col- leagues fail to appreciate that the much decryed American agents are usu- ally former editors who are skilled both at helping writers to develop a project for a book, and then doing the initial editorial work themselve~.~ From Nora's perspective the agent can save an editor time and money by assuming the role currently played by the legions of readers that presses employ to evaluate the numerous manuscripts they receive. Good agents must be capable of making perceptive literary judgments since their liveli- hood depends on the artistic/financial success of the manuscripts they place with an editor.

Nora's arguments suggest that in the contemporary literary market- place no contradiction need exist between the publication of quality man- uscripts and an awareness of the exigencies of effective merchandising. Readership of serious literature is shrinking in France as elsewhere; the points de vente are also diminishing, and major publishers are increasingly turning to livres scolaires and "how-to" books to augment their chiffves d'affaire. In the United States the relatively large number of book clubs has contributed to the successes that some publishers have enjoyed, but in France, with the exception of France-Loisir, book clubs have had little impact. The variety of pressures affecting the publication and distribu- tion of the novel in France will more and more compel editors to rethink their practices and the traditions that govern them. Given this situation, the place of the agent in French literary life has yet to be determined.

People who love the beauty of Paris generally fear its changing. What they sometimes forget is that the city maintains its beauty partly because it is always changing. Perhapsle quartier Saint Gerrnain will indeed become the next century's Faubourg Saint Honor&, but then again, for all we know, le Marais could be the new intellectual center. Or maybe none of this will happen, and what changes occur will take place so slowly that they will hardly be noticed. The business of literature is changing now, as it always has in the past. One is right to remark these changes, along with the pressures for change, because they affect the kinds of liter- ature made available to us. It remains important, however, to recall that "crisis" is one of the most overworked words in academic parlance, and so rather than speak of l'annie 1996 in dire terms, wisdom dictates that we simply recognize it as a year that featured several fine novels, many ordinary ones, and some not worth mentioning; critics argued about lit- erary prizes, authors about royalties, publishers about sales, and some- body was bound to predict the beginning or the end of literature. In short, 1996was a good, relatively typical year for the French novel.

Notes

'The authors would like to thank Profs. Ilse Krumschmidt, Manuela Malahooti, Bettina Soestwohner, and Gabriele Stellmacher for their assistance in preparing this essay.

lIn a recent New Yorker article, James Atlas would appear to offer an ironic confirmation of Nora's judgment: "Some of the most talented literary people I know-people who stud- ied Latin and Greek, who read the TSL and can tell you the plot of 'Titus Andronicusf-are agents" (65).

Works Cited

Atlas, James. "The Fall of Fun." The New Yorker 18 Nov. 1996: 62-71 

Belloc, D. Un Collier de chien. Paris: Balland, 1996. 
Beyala, Calixthe. Les Honneurs perdus. Paris: Albin Michel, 1996. 

Bianciotti, Hector. Le Pas si lent de l'amour. Paris: Gallimard, 1996. 
Bon, Fran~ois. C'est toute une vie. Lagrasse: Verdier, 1996. 
-. Parking. Paris: Minuit, 1996. 
Brisac, Genevieve. Week-end de chasse a la mire. Paris: Olivier, 1996. 
Boudard, Alfonse. Mourir d'enfance. Paris: Laffont, 1995. 
Bouraoui, Nina. Le Bal des murines. Paris: Fayard, 1996. 
Camus, Renaud. Le Dipartement de la Lozire. Paris: P.O.L., 1996. 
Chabrol, Pierre. Les Aveux du silence. Paris: Laffont, 1996. 
Conde, Maryse. La Migration des ceurs. Paris: Laffont, 1996. 
Darrieussecq, Marie. Truismes. Paris: P.O.L., 1996. 
Ferre, Christophe. La Chambre d'amour. Paris: Arlea, 1995. 
Gerber, Alain. Quatre Saisons a Venise. Paris: Laffont, 1996. 
Habib, Claude. Prc'fere ['impair. Paris: Viviane Hamy, 1996. 
Harpmann, Jacqueline. Orlanda. Paris: Grasset, 1996. 
Jarry, Isabele. Emportez-moi sans me briser Paris. Paris: Fayard, 1996. 
Jouanard, Gil. Plut6t que d'en pleurer. Lagrasse: Verdier, 1996. 

Kaplan, Leslie. Depuis maintenant: Miss Nobody Knows. Paris: P.O.L., 1996.

Labro, Philippe. La Traverske. Paris: Gallimard, 1996.

Le Clezio, J.M.G. La Quarantaine. Paris: Gallimard, 1995.

Libourel, Jean-Claude. Antonin Maillefer. Paris: Laffont, 1996.

Manet, Eduardo. Rhapsodie cubaine. Paris: Grasset, 1996.

Mezescaze, Philippe. Oii irons-nous dimanche prochain?. Paris: Arlea, 1996.

Michon, Pierre. Le Roi au bois. Lagrasse: Verdier, 1996.

Modiano, Patrick. Du plus loin de l'oubli. Paris: Gallimard, 1996.

Nguyen Long, Pedro, and Walter, Georges. La Montagne des parfums. Paris: Laffont, 1996

Oster, Christian. Paul au te'le'phone. Paris: Minuit, 1996.

Peucmaurd, Jacques, et al. L'Ecole de Brive. Paris: Laffont, 1996.

Pinau, GisPle. L'Exil selon Julia. Paris: Stock, 1996.

Picouly, Daniel. Champ de personne. Paris: Flammarion, 1995.

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Quignard, Pascal. La Haine de la musique. Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1996.

Rolin, Jean. L'Organisation. Paris: Gallimard, 1996.

Rouaud, Jean. Le Monde d peu prts. Paris: Minuit, 1996.

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Schreiber, Boris. Un Silence d'environ une demi-heure. Paris: Cherche-Midi, 1996.

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