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Sky-Blue Men

Anaïs Llobet

(Éditions de l’Observatoire, 224 pages, 2019)

 

*** paperback rights sold to folio in france ***

*** rights sold to italy (fandango) ***

 Alice Zoubaieva is a Russian teacher at a high school in The Hague, Netherlands. Her real name is actually Alissa, a name she is hiding along with as her origins for fear of xenophobia, as she is from Chechnya. As she gets ready to teach, a bomb explodes in her school, killing twenty-four people. The authorities institute a manhunt, suspecting one of Alice’s students, a Chechen boy named Kirem, to be the terrorist. They arrest his older brother Oumar, as well as their cousin Makhmoud. Feeling helpless and afraid, Alice offers to help with the investigation by translating Oumar and Makhmoud’s conversations.

 Through Alice’s translations, the police learn that Makhmoud and Kirem were radicalized by Islamic extremists. Oumar, conversely, integrated into Dutch society when he emigrated to the Netherlands and strayed from Islam’s principles. Just as Alice did, he changed his name, and became Adam, his gay alter ego. We learn of their violent upbringing in the midst of the war in Chechnya. In his new country, Oumar/Adam lives with Hector, his boyfriend. Taissa (Kirem and Oumar’s mother), Kirem, and Makhmoud follow after a few years. When his family arrives, Adam strips away from what his life has become and returns to being Oumar—at least during the day. The night before the attack, he meets Alex, a young man he supposedly went on a lunch date with when the bomb goes off at the school.

 As the investigation progresses, Alex confides in the police. He was indeed with Oumar that day, but Oumar arrived late, leading Alex to believe that he was used as an alibi. In the light of this discovery, the police leak the story to the press and reveal Oumar’s secret to the world. Oumar remembers when he first found out about homosexuality on television and explains how indecent it is in the Islamic and Chechan culture. There are not even words in Chechnya for it: they use “gay” from English or “golouboï” from Russian (“sky-blue”). As his secret explodes, Oumar understands that he is safer in prison than out fearing for his life, and pleads guilty to being the terrorist.

 Sky-Blue Men is a gripping and captivating novel with an unexpected plotline, filled with endearing characters full of humanity. They give a deep and full spectrum of opinions to express the lucidity of the oppressed. This powerful novel explores many important and current themes: immigration, assimilation and integration, specifically the difficult balance between maintaining one’s identity while adopting a new culture; terrorism and radicalization, where the person to blame is difficult to find; and gay rights and the fact that homosexuality is still punishable by death in many countries.

 

Anaïs Llobet is a journalist. In Moscow for five years for Agence France Press (AFP), she covered Russian news and particularly Chechen, where she denounced persecutions of gay people by local institutions. She also wrote Les Mains lâchées (Plon, 2016).

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Dear Allah

Saphia Azzeddine

(Stock, 192 pages, first published in 2008, new edition 2019)

 

*** 60,000 copies sold in France ***

*** Currently considered for adaptation into a series in the U.S ***

*** Rights sold TO

Germany (Wagenbach), Spain (Demipage), and Sweden (Ordfront) ***

 *** English translation sample available ***

 

A deeply moving long prayer Elle

 

How to become free when social circumstances destine you for a life of poverty and submission? Sixteen-year-old Jbara, one of eight children, tends the family’s flock of sheep in a remote Moroccan village. Jbara’s prospects are grim; there is no relief in sight from the daily grind of household chores, and the yoke of paternal authority. She has no one to talk to but Allah. It is to Him that Jbara confides and shares the story of her life in this raw and candid monologue.

Jbara is routinely pushed around, but what stirs up her indignation is the battery of interdictions to which she is subjected: “At home,” she says, “everything is haram—forbidden by Islamic law—including me.” While uneducated in most things, Jbara has enough sense to know that what she lets a local shepherd do to her in exchange for her favorite raïbi jamila—a delicious yogurt with grenadine—is most likely not haram. Inevitably, she becomes pregnant and her family exiles her from the village. On her journey she preciously carries along the pink Dior suitcase she found one day after it had fallen from an American tour bus. This Pandora’s box filled with exotic treasures—coconut lip gloss, a pearl G-string, and a roll of cash—signals the existence of another world that she is at last about to discover.

The city is an unforgiving place for a vulnerable young woman ignorant of the ways of the world, and too beautiful not to be noticed. Wherever she goes, she must contend with male lust. She progressively learns to turn the value of her body to her benefit. Yet she still hopes for a more respectable life, and takes a job as a maid in a wealthy household. The family’s son rapes her, marking a turning point in Jbara’s life. Weary of selling herself cheap, she embraces the life of a prostitute with determination, informing Allah that she is ready to pay the price. Now renamed Shéhérazade, she becomes the favorite of a rich Arab sheikh, and experiences, for a while, the mirages of freedom until a police raid lands her in jail. There, through study, she finds her way back to Allah. When she is released, Jbara takes on the name of Khadijah, the wife of the prophet. Against all expectation, she marries an imam and leads a virtuous life. But her trials and tribulations do not end there.

With unblinking directness, Saphia Azzeddine spares no details concerning the crude reality of Jbara’s sexual encounters. With equal delicacy and sensitivity, she captures the poignancy of Jbara’s moments of joyful discovery. Laden with fierce social commentary, Dear Allah speaks against the excesses of a patriarchal society. Jbara is a believer who lives her faith as she sees fit and prays to Allah in her own way: “What animates my faith is to love You,” she tells Him. “Loving You has allowed me to love myself and loving myself has allowed me to love.”

 

Saphia Azzeddine is a French-Moroccan writer, actress, screenwriter, and film director. She has written seven novels, including Sa mère (Stock, 2017), Bilqiss (Stock, 2015), Combien veux-tu m’épouser? (Grasset, 2013), and La Mecque-Phuket (Léo Scheer, 2010.) Mon père est femme de ménage (Léo Scheer, 2009) was adapted for the screen in 2011 and received the Europe 1 Audience Award at the Alpe d’Huez International Comedy Film Festival. After a theatrical adaptation at the Festival d’Avignon in 2008, Dear Allah was the subject of a second adaptation, this time in comics, published by Futuropolis in 2015.

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Make Me Anger

Vincent Villeminot

(Les Escales, 274 pages, 2018)

 

 

“I’ll be the weapon, the club, the scimitar, to hit and hit the land of human animals. I’ll be your justice, judge, and executioner. Make me the vengeful arm, brother, you who does not avenge yourself; and I can point my finger, my weapon on the forehead of those who blaspheme against you. Those who yield to rapacity, who are prey to the pit. Make me Anger. Your resplendent dog.”

Make Me Anger

 

On the banks of Lake Leman in Geneva, sixteen-year-old Ismaëlle becomes an orphan when her father accidentally drowns. With no one else to care for her, Ismaëlle takes on her father’s fishing business and tries to survive on her own. Soon human bodies begin to float on the lake. Suddenly dozens, if not hundreds, of naked, inexplicable dead people cover its surface.

 Ismaëlle then meets Ezekiel, the son of an African dictator called The Ogre, and who lived through countless civil wars. Ezekiel travels to Lake Leman to kill a Leviathan, Mammon, that he knows will arrive—sooner rather than later—deep in the lake.

 Together Ismaëlle and Ezekiel embark on a quest to kill Mammon. During their odyssey, the two explore their desires and their pasts, battling not only the monstrous Mammon, but also greed, lust, and tender, raw emotion.

 Make Me Anger is an epic, dreamlike tale told through the melding of Ismaëlle’s and Ezekiel’s voices. Vincent Villeminot gives us at once a breathtaking novel, a mythological story, a biblical allegory, and poetry. His compelling writing gradually places Ismaëlle and Ezekiel in an ethereal world, where the frontier between dream and reality blurs.

 

Vincent Villeminot is a prolific writer of young adult books. Make Me Anger is his first novel in adult fiction.

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Antarctica: A Lifetime Dream

Mike Horn

(Éditions XO, 286 pages, 2018)

  

*** Full English manuscript available ***

*** 70,000 copies sold ***

 

On February 7, 2017, South African explorer Mike Horn reached the end of Antarctica, completing the first solo, unsupported, 57-day trek north-to-south crossing of the continent. Antarctica: A Lifetime Dream is the extraordinary tale of this achievement.

 Mike Horn sailed for twenty-five days through one of the worlds’ most dangerous seas from Cape Town, South Africa, to Novolazarevskaya, a Russian Antarctic research station. At fifty years old, Horn set out on his skis towing a 440-pound sled behind him. Over the course of 57 days, he endured temperatures as low as –40 degrees Fahrenheit and winds as high as 187 miles per hour, traveled 3,169 miles, and lost 36 pounds. No one had ever traversed most of his route.

 Horn’s days consisted of sleeping for five hours, cooking and eating for five hours, and traveling the remaining hours. On some days, using kites to harness the winds, he was able to complete 120 miles, while on other days, he had no other option than to hunker down in his tent. He dealt with equipment failure and injury, such as breaking his shoulder and opening his big toe with a screwdriver to facilitate blood flow in his half-frozen foot. The worst part was when he lost his cook stove, cooking pot, and spoon. By following the rules of survival, he adapted. Horn had no choice but to keep climbing toward the pole; it was either that or die.

 Through his perilous journey, he stayed in contact with his team and his two daughters via satellite phone. In the hardest times, he listened to the playlist his deceased wife, Cathy, had made for his expeditions. He found solace, strength, and wisdom in remembering his childhood and life with his shining star, remembering her telling him before she died: “The most beautiful gift you could give me is to continue to live for me. Like before, like always, tomorrow even stronger than yesterday.”

 In Antarctica: A Lifetime Dream, Mike Horn shares with us the attainment of his dream. Through his story, we discover the resilience of the human body and mind against extremes.

 

Mike Horn is a South African–born Swiss professional explorer, and has his own TV show in France. He has written several books (totaling one million copies sold), and is currently undertaking his latest expedition, Pole2Pole, a two-year circumnavigation of the globe by way of the north and south poles.

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San Perdido

David Zukerman

(Calmann-Lévy, 450 pages, 2019)

 

 What is a hero, if not a man who one day realizes the secret dreams of an entire people? San Perdido

 

In San Perdido, a small town on Panama’s Caribbean coast, Yerbo Kwinton is a legend. The poorest residents of the Lágrima slum who live off the municipal dumpsite first notice him one morning in June 1946. From out of nowhere comes a small, ten-year-old black boy with strange blue eyes, mute and frail, but with powerful hands much too large for a child his age. Decades later, the people of San Perdido will still remember him as La Mano, “the hand that reaches out to help when no one else can.”

 Felicia, a resilient Ghanian woman who made a home for herself on the edge of the landfill, is the only one able to approach this inscrutable and solitary child. They wordlessly help each other. Yet in spite of their complicity, Yerbo’s comings and goings remain a mystery. He grows up scouring heaps of garbage for scrap metal. Only a few know that he can turn into a merciless vigilante who kills thieves and child predators with his bare hands.

 As he reaches adolescence, Yerbo abandons his scavenging life to work in the harbor overlooking the Bay of Port Sangre. One day, his boss challenges him to an arm-wrestling contest. All present witness the crushing power of Yerbo’s hands. From then on, Yerbo’s reputation as a man not to be meddled with spreads around town. In San Perdido, corruption and exploitation are commonplace. The dock men’s strike is violently repressed. When the building where many of them lodge is destroyed by arson, Yerbo intervenes with deadly efficiency; summary justice, yes, but how moral can one be when living in San Perdido, “a city forsaken by God”?

An exuberant set of characters accompanies Zukerman’s elusive main hero as he defends the innocent and the oppressed. There is the temperamental Yumna who, thanks to her voluptuous beauty, climbs the social ladder by becoming the mistress of the governor—a man whose insatiable sexual appetite earned him the nickname El Toro; the exquisite Hissa, an orphan rescued by the madam of the most upscale brothel in town; the good doctor Portillo-Lopez, who cares for bodies and souls; as well as ex-American soldiers, shady adventurers, greedy public officials, and descendants of runaways slaves who long ago found refuge in the nearby rain forest.

 With great gusto, David Zukerman combines social realism with pure fiction, and an added frisson of supernatural horror. He is a master storyteller who effortlessly orchestrates his characters’ intersecting fates. There is no second role here. San Perdido is a seductive tale that transports the reader into the atmosphere of a tropical town with all its political intrigues, explosive passions, and raw sensuality—a reading pleasure hard to resist.

 

David Zukerman is an actor, musician, and playwright. San Perdido is his first novel.

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A Long Mexican Night

Isabelle Mayault

(Gallimard, 272 pages, 2018)

*** Rights sold in German (Rowohlt) AND ITALIAN (RIZZOLI) ***

When his beloved cousin died in a car-crash with her lover on a highway along the Pacific, a young Mexican man inherited a suitcase. In it he discovered thousands of negatives of photos taken, five decades prior, by Capa, Gerda Taro, and Chim, the three famous Central-European photographers who covered the Spanish Civil War. And he didn’t know what to do : say nothing out of loyalty, and simply become their new guardian? Or make their existence known?

To reach a decision, he started researching the chain of successive proprietors of the suitcase, to reconstitute the long night during which the heroism, discretion and audacity of a few men and women saved these precious negatives.

And now, twenty years later, it is up to him to decide their new destiny...

A Long Mexican Night is Isabelle Mayault’s debut novel. It is not the story of Capa, Taro, and Chim: rather the story of the famous suitcase -and its successive proprietors- which was thought lost and suddenly reappeared in Mexico in 2007. No one knows what actually happened… so Isabelle Mayault offers this amazing tale.

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Spinoza: The Other Path

Blandine Kriegel

(Éditions du Cerf, 504 pages, 2018)

If Spinoza now deserves to be read, studied and understood, it is because he offers an alternative path—alternative to the one that dominated the preceding centuries, a path that can perhaps help us overcome or solve the failures and disasters attributed to modernity.

—Blandine Kriegel

 

In recent decades there has been a remarkable surge of interest in Spinoza. Neurophysiologists, psychologists, philosophers, animal rights advocates, and even botanists are rediscovering his famously dense and opaque treatises. Why is it that, once deemed “archaic and medieval,” Spinoza is now more relevant than ever? This is the question underlying Blandine Kriegel’s latest book.

Kriegel, one of France’s foremost political philosophers, explores Spinoza’s formative years through his exposure to three main cultural influences: the Sephardic Jewish tradition; his freethinking circle of Dutch friends; and the broader intellectual and political history of the Dutch Republic at the dawn of the modern scientific revolution. Throughout the book, Kriegel engages with a rich body of international research, which helped dispel Spinoza’s long-held reputation as a reclusive thinker leading a life of pure reflection in isolation from his contemporaries.

 Kriegel combines historical investigation and text analysis to introduce Spinoza’s politics. She turns to The Theologico-Political Treatise and the lesser-known Political Treatise to demonstrate why Spinoza’s innovative arguments in defense of democratic governance, separation of powers, and the freedom of thought and expression constitute a decisive stage in modern political philosophy. Did his political ideas mark a definitive rupture with classical political philosophy? And did they pave the way to the Revolution? With this in mind, she reviews the dissemination of Spinoza’s political ideas among French and English Enlightenment thinkers, while insisting on the need to distinguish Spinoza, his thought, from Spinozism, the reception of his thought.

 Finally, Kriegel examines The Ethics, Spinoza’s monumental and posthumously published work. She first introduces the historical context, focusing on the paradigm shift brought by the arrival of Newtonian physics, and on Spinoza’s critical engagement with the radical positions of Descartes. Kriegel follows with a comprehensive evaluation of each of The Ethics’s five parts illuminating Spinoza’s views on God, the universe, human nature, knowledge, will and freedom. How, she asks, are we to explain that such a profound philosophy was ignored for extended periods of time? To answer this question, she reappraises the complex reception of Spinoza’s philosophy in Germany—from early rejection, to Goethe’s enthusiasm, to Hegel’s ambivalence.

 Since the beginning of her research, Kriegel has studied early modern thinkers. Her substantial work on the historical and philosophical foundations of the concepts of human rights, republic, and democracy makes her an authority on Spinoza. Kriegel’s vast erudition allows her to address the many ways in which Spinoza’s philosophy has been misinterpreted: from the early adversaries who merely saw him as the destroyer of religion to his later adepts who approach his thought selectively. She masterfully demonstrates the contemporaneity of Spinoza’s philosophy, and why his ethics, “which do not separate knowledge from the belief in the infinitude of God and nature,” may well be the ones we most urgently need in the twenty-first century.

 

Blandine Kriegel, a student of Georges Canguilhem, and research collaborator of Michel Foucault, is one of France’s foremost political theorists and historians. She is Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy in Paris and the author of numerous books and more than four hundred articles. Her critically acclaimed book, The State and the Rule of Law, was translated and published by Princeton University Press in 1995. Kriegel was the editor of the journal Philosophie Politique. She has also had a high public profile in France through her role in a succession of national reform commissions.

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Mafiosas

Pascale Dietrich

(Liana Levi, 160 pages, 2019)

 

Ironic, feminist, delightfully unpredictable. Le Figaro

 

In a Grenoble hospital, Leone Acampora, a local mafioso, has slipped into an irreversible coma. His devoted wife, Michèle, has been notified that the end is near. She now sits by his side, reflecting lovingly on their forty-five-year marriage. All in all, it was a good one, during which she fully enjoyed the advantages, and to a lesser degree the incidental unpleasantness, of being married to the mob. Besides, she has been an exemplary and loyal wife—at least as far as her husband knows.

 But Michèle is in for a rude awakening. The comatose Leone left her a letter graciously informing her that he has no intention of traveling solo in the afterworld, but she should not worry. He has taken care of everything. The hit man he hired assured him that her death would be painless.

 Michèle is not the type of woman to die without a fight. She is determined to live, and after failing to solve the problem on her own, she calls her two daughters to her rescue. The three women are now engaged in a race against time. They must identify the hit man before he finds his prey.

 Dina and Alissia are well aware of their father’s line of business, but each has responded to it differently. For Dina, it has been a struggle. It is not easy to wonder, every time a bank is robbed, whether your family is involved. To assuage her guilt, Dina chose a career in humanitarian aid, and now works for an NGO called Major Emergencies. At this time, though, she is in a state of heightened vulnerability, unhappy in love and disillusioned with her job.

 Contrary to Dina, Alissia has fully embraced her father’s legacy. Initially she intended to become a paramedic, but she wisely shifted to another specialty. No more fishy pizza parlors for laundering money. Now she owns a respectable pharmacy, the perfect cover for behind-the-counter activities. She even developed her own approach to cope with the stress of the job. Cultivating a serene mind is crucial when one deals kilos of hashish and cocaine, and when one is facing a new wave of competitors treading on her turf.

 Alissia thus takes the initiative to send her mother to a remote villa in the mountains while planning her transfer to a more secure and permanent location. But, self-confident by nature, she fails to take into account that Leone possesses one crucial advantage: He is a father well acquainted with his two daughters’ strengths and weaknesses. And he knows that Dina is the weakest link.

 With Mafiosas, Pascale Dietrich offers a refreshing take on the mafia story. Her choice of setting departs from the genre’s convention; we discover a grittier Grenoble, with its drug-invested low-income high-rises set against the majestic backdrop of the Alps. The three protagonists, each in her own way, subvert the roles they are expected to play. Michèle will not be a passive victim. Alissia uses this crisis to redraw the rules. She will not let her future be dictated by aging godfathers playing cards in retirement homes, nor be passed over for leadership because she is a woman. As for Dina, who has always felt oppressed by the omerta, the rule of silence, transgressing the old ways will take another turn. Subtly feminist, Mafiosas is a delightful read, laced with sardonic humor and peppered with memorable scenes.

  

Pascale Dietrich is a writer and a sociologist. She has published short stories in magazines as well as short novels exploring the thriller genre, such as Le Homard (Éditions In8, 2013) and Une île bien tranquille (Éditions Liane Levi, 2016).

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Memories

Marie Rameau

(La Ville Brûle, 242 pages, 2015)

To create, even here, is to resist; it is to hope; it is to want to live.

—Denise Vernay, alias Miarka, 1946

They fought against evil without ever taking themselves for an incarnation of the good.

—Tzvetan Todorov

Marie Rameau is a photographer who has dedicated herself to honoring women who fought against the Nazis in the French Resistance. For years she has met the survivors, shot their portraits, and gathered their testimonies, always searching for the most appropriate and respectful way to preserve the memory of their historical roles in World War II. In Memories she highlights nineteen women arrested for acts of resistance. Caught in France, they were condemned to forced labor in Mauthausen, Neunengamme, and Ravensbrück—Nazi concentration camps located in Germany and Austria. Toward the end of the war, some were transferred to Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz. After providing a brief biography for each woman, Rameau lets the objects they secretly crafted in the camps tell their stories.

Faced with the extreme dehumanization of camp life, female prisoners engaged in a different kind of resistance. They pilfered and recycled the materials with which they were forced to manufacture parts for the German war industry—when they were not actively sabotaging them. Electric wire was crafted into a pair of earrings; leather and rubber pieces used for gas masks were repurposed into handbags, belts, and shoes; and the fake fur lining helmets turned into stuffed animals. They spirited away anything they could, from thread and needle to paper and pencil. Some made notebook covers with their bedding’s burlap and embroidered them with cannon wick. Others drew on the unfolded lids of the small boxes intended to contain bullet casings. These objects, made in such perilous circumstances, were often tiny because they had to stay concealed. Yet, Rameau explains, they “were an integral part of the life of the inmates, and participated in networks of solidarity and sociability that structured life in the camp.” They convey better than any word the vital spirit, imagination, ingenuity, and courage of the women who crafted them against all odds.

Some of the women who appear in this book are well known, like the anthropologist Germaine Tillion, who after her release published a seminal eyewitness account of her time at Ravensbrück. Others did not return but live on in the memories of those who did. The stories sometimes overlap; the women find inspiration in the physical presence of cherished mementos infused with the friendships to which many say they owe their survival.

Memories is a touching and powerful expression of Rameau’s enduring commitment to witness, record, and remember. When asked why, she explains that “these women lived in accord with themselves, fought against the worst in humankind, and had the generosity to let us think that we can still continue to hope for the best.” She adds, “listening to them, we understand that no one is immune from becoming a terrifying being . . . we also understand that no one is immune, either, from the possibility of not becoming one!”

 

Marie Rameau is a photographer, and member of the board of directors of the Germaine Tillion Association. She previously published Des Femmes en résistance, 1939–1945 (Editions Autrement, 2008).

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Life at Versailles in 100 Questions

Mathieu Da Vinha

(Tallandier, 334 pages, 2018)

 

 In the 1660s, the area surrounding the future Palace of Versailles was an inhospitable swamp, unpleasantly windy and without direct access to spring water. Yet it is in that very place that, in 1682, Louis XIV decided to move the court and the government. So why did he choose Versailles?

 Mathieu Da Vinha, the scientific director of the Palace of Versailles Research Center, deftly answers that question as well as ninety-nine others. Using a playful question-and-answer approach, Da Vinha invites us to understand Versailles from different and complementary perspectives: architecture and garbage disposal; food procurement and sleeping arrangements; transportation and hygiene; entertainment and working conditions for all those who contributed to the realization of the Sun King’s grand vision, one that was not fully completed by the time of his death. Was Versailles a safe place? Was the food good? Who could visit? Did you have to be rich to live there? Could you die there?

 Da Vinha takes pleasure in challenging common misconceptions and legends surrounding the habits and customs of the royal court. Did courtiers live in cramped quarters, no better than “rats’ nests”? Is it true that the Sun King only took one bath in his life? These simply framed questions serve as a point of departure to explore broader themes. Thus the story on Louis XIV’s bathing preference leads to observations on seventeenth-century medical practices, and the co-opting of mirror craftsmen from Venice exemplifies European commercial and artistic rivalry in the Age of Enlightenment. Strict etiquette—the hallmark of Louis XIV’s reign—defined an art of living that became famous throughout Europe.

 Foreign observers were particularly taken by another aspect of the life at Versailles: the wide public access to the palace’s grounds. Just about anyone, they marveled, could stroll around in the gardens and catch a glimpse of the Sun King from afar. He constantly lived in the public eye. To maintain that legacy could be a burden to his successors, and most famously so for the Queen Marie-Antoinette. The chapter entitled, “Did the king and queen appeared naked before the courtiers?” details the intricate rules attached to dressing the queen. The anecdote is amusing, but also perfectly captures the absurd and oppressive quality of court protocol.

 Da Vinha brings his erudition and expertise to answer the questions that someone visiting the palace might ask. The responses he provides offer a vivid and comprehensive portrait of the first two hundred years of Versailles, from its conception up to the French Revolution. Beyond the myths of royal opulence that continue to hold sway over the public imagination, he illuminates the lives of the thousands of people who built, maintained, and populated the palace. With Life at Versailles in 100 Questions, Da Vinha offers the perfect resource to gain an accessible, entertaining, yet knowledgeable understanding of Versailles.

 

Mathieu da Vinha is currently the scientific director of the Palace of Versailles Research Center. He is the author of several studies and biographies relating to life under the reign of Louis XIV, including Versailles: Enquête historique (Tallandier, 2015), Au service du roi. Dans les coulisses de Versailles (Tallandier, 2015), Alexandre Bontemps, Premier valet de chambre de Louis XIV (éd. Perrin, 2011), Le Versailles de Louis XIV: Le fonctionnement d’une résidence royale au XVIIe siècle (Perrin, 2009), Louis XIV et Versailles (éd. Arts Lys/Château de Versailles, 2009), and Les Valets de chambre de Louis XIV (éd. Perrin, 2004.) He is also the co-author of Versailles. Histoire, dictionnaire et anthologie, published by Robert Laffont in 2015.