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Prix Goncourt 2010

The longlist for this year’s Goncourt Prize was announced last week, and includes some familiar names—Amelie Nothomb, Michel Houellebecq—and some new, up-and-coming writers, such as Mathias Enard.

Here’s the complete list for all you Francophiles who may have missed this1:

  • Olivier Adam, Le coeur régulier (L’Olivier)
    (I feel like Adam is on this list every single year . . . )
  • Vassilis Alexakis, Le premier mot (Stock)
  • T. Beinstingel, Retour aux mots sauvages (Fayard)
  • Vincent Borel, Antoine et Isabelle (S. Wespieser)
  • Virginie Despentes, Apocalypse bébé (Grasset)
  • Marc Dugain, L’insomnie des étoiles (Gallimard)
  • Mathias Enard, Parle-leur de batailles, de rois et d‘éléphants (Actes Sud)
    (Self-promotional moment here, but you should all buy a copy of Zone. I’ll personally wrap your copy up with my love and eternal gratitude.)
  • Michel Houellebecq, La carte et le territoire (Flammarion)
    (Which apparently is nothing but Wikipedia in novel form. I kid. This “controversy” is a bit silly, and the book sounds very different from other Houellebecq books, yet still sounds interesting.)
  • Maylis de Kerangal, Naissance d’un pont (Verticales)
    (Verticales does awesome books.)
  • Patrick Lapeyre, La vie est brève et le désir sans fin (P.O.L.)
    (As does P.O.L.)
  • Fouad Laroui, Une année chez les Français (Julliard)
  • Amélie Nothomb, Une forme de vie (Albin Michel)
  • Chantal Thomas, Le testament d’Olympe (Seuil)
  • Karine Tuil, Six mois, six jours (Grasset)

1 Reserving my typical rant for the footnotes . . . I know I’m beating a horse corpse here, but the Académie Goncourt website is DREADFUL. The Goncourt is one of the world’s most recognized book awards—one that even Americans tend to pay attention to. (Well not really—we’re all too busy reading this Franzen character, but still. There are at least a few people in this country curious about the results.) Granted, French websites—like French book covers—are not well known for their creativity or design aesthetics, but please, there are a number of very small, very simple things you could do to improve this browsing experience. Descriptions of the longlist titles? That would be nice. Or if you’re too lazy to do that, at least link from the Goncourt site to the publisher pages for the books. (Assuming and assuming, but hopefully there’s some info online about all of these books.) Of course, like with all international awards, I’d love English sample translations, but that’s self-serving and asking way too much of any organization. Although asking that you fix some of the typography on this list, or at least italicize the titles is pretty reasonable, I think. (Seriously, check out the link above.) Not to get all patriotic or shit, but the National Book Foundation’s website makes me proud to live in a country where we some people have figured out the basics of how the Internet works. I love your books, France, please let me find out more about them in an easy, 21st century fashion.



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