It’s probably as famous as the ‘Beaujolais nouveau’ but you can’t drink it. The French rentrée littéraire is almost fully launched and the pandemic doesn’t seem to have any negative impact on the flood of new books that’s spreading everywhere in France. The book stores can relax for a moment. And the production is quite exciting, this year.
Releasing a physical book always comes with a high degree of uncertainty nowadays. There’s always a lot of competition with well-established authors -from Amélie Nothomb with her jubilant Les aérostats to Emmanuel Carrère with his beautiful Yoga. Furthermore, we know the digital transformation of our economy encouraged some new reading habits like the ebook. There’s also the newcomer audiobook now, which was initially seen as an additional threat to the already fragile publishing industry.
But people are sometimes more conservative than we could expect. And there’s nothing more true than the book’s case: readers still love the physical object.
With more than 500 new books, the 2020 rentrée littéraire is, indeed, as big as usual. Although most publishers chose not to release some debut novels, trying to reduce the risk in a time still deeply shaken by the new normal ‘mask society‘. Indeed, we see a lot of strongly confirmed authors in the bookstores. Like Yasmina Khadra with Le sel de tous les oublis, Alice Ferney with L’intimité, or Franck Bouysse with Buveurs de vent. All very powerful and inspiring. We’d also like to mention Isabelle Le Foll-Remoué’s Les profs aussi sont harcelés, a poignant testimony about a harassed teacher.
Although we were not able to read all the 511 new novels (!), we were particularly moved by Sarah Chiche’s Saturne and Colson Whitehead’s Nickel Boys. And last but not least, we can’t wait to read French rapper Gringe’s debut novel Ensemble, on aboie en silence. Who said rappers couldn’t make books? This could be a new trend.
No matter your mood, you will find something to eat at the French rentrée littéraire. Or drink. Or just read. What are you waiting for? The bookstores are still struggling.
Do you want to tell us what you’d like to read during this French rentrée? We’d be happy to know your intentions! Feel free to submit your ideas here. Happy submitting. And above all, happy reading!