Books by Frank Wynne

VERNON SUBUTEX 1 by Virginie Despentes
Released: Nov. 5, 2019

"A caustic portrait of the blank generation facing middle age."
French punk rockers get old. Read full book review >
ANIMALIA by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo
Released: Sept. 10, 2019

"Tortured beasts are tended by soul-destroyed keepers in an unstinting portrait of all that's wrong with modern food production."
Carnivores beware. Human and animal misery are evoked in unsparing detail in a dark saga of ruinous husbandry practices. Read full book review >
THE REUNION by Guillaume Musso
Released: July 9, 2019

"Sacré bleu!"
A high school reunion on the Côte d'Azur brings together murderers who haven't spoken to each other in years. Read full book review >
THE IMPOSTOR by Javier Cercas
Released: Aug. 28, 2018

"Though long and occasionally repetitive, this is a charged examination of a surpassingly strange matter and of the masks and fictions we construct."
Acclaimed Spanish novelist Cercas (The Blind Spot: An Essay on the Novel, 2018, etc.) looks deeply at the curious case of a man who wasn't there. Read full book review >
THREE DAYS AND A LIFE by Pierre Lemaitre
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"French favorite Lemaitre's novel, about a preteen on whom fortune smiles in the most devious ways after he accidentally kills a little boy, is a feverish, wickedly entertaining work."
A chain of strange and sorrowful events is set in motion in the French town of Beauval when lonely 12-year-old Antoine Courtin angrily whacks his adoring 6-year-old neighbor, Rémi, in the head with a branch—and, to his great shock, kills him. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Fans of Maurice Chevalier won't be pleased, but Modiano's admirers will find this early work fascinating."
"I know the life stories of these shadows is of no great interest to anyone, but if I didn't write it down, no one else would do it": three early novels by Nobel Prize-winning French author Modiano (Suspended Sentences, 2014, etc.) that look back to the years of the Nazi occupation. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"In a cautionary tale with a familiar moral, the arresting prose and complex characters shine."
A couple purchases a dilapidated estate and moves to a remote region of Colombia in this short novel, originally published in 1983 and González's first to be translated into English. Read full book review >
HARRAGA by Boualem Sansal
Released: Nov. 6, 2014

"Sansal's richly drawn characters and the places where he embeds them will color readers' moods long after we leave their passageways."
Two women, a pediatrician considered a spinster at 35 and a spontaneous, pregnant teenager, forge a strong, unlikely emotional bond after a short time living together in a 17th-century house in Rampe Valée, a crumbling neighborhood in contemporary Algiers. Read full book review >
THE SIEGE by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Released: Nov. 4, 2014

"A genre-bending literary thriller worth the time."
Pirates; serial killings; steamy, unrequited love: Pérez-Reverte (Pirates of the Levant, 2010, etc.) imbues the sensational with significance.Read full book review >
PIG'S FOOT by Carlos Acosta
Released: Jan. 14, 2014

"The pyrotechnics of Acosta's writing would benefit from a more tightly choreographed structure."
Ballet star Acosta's debut novel follows a Cuban family from slavery days to modern Havana. Read full book review >
ALEX by Pierre Lemaitre
Kirkus Star
by Pierre Lemaitre, translated by Frank Wynne
Released: Sept. 3, 2013

"An eloquent thriller with a denouement that raises eyebrows as it speeds the pulse."
In this unpredictable, oddly delectable French thriller, an attractive young Parisian woman is abducted, chained in a crate and brutalized by an avenger—a crime that doesn't begin to hint at the gruesome killings to follow. Read full book review >
Released: March 13, 2012

"'I am neither indifferent to, nor weary of, this world; had I a hundred lives, I know I would not tire of it,' he writes. Intelligent readers will find it hard to argue."
Love and death go hand in hand in the life of journalist and filmmaker Lanzmann, who at 84 delivers his first book (originally published in France in 2009): a beautifully written memoir driven by both the writer's passion for living and his memories of lost friends. Read full book review >
PURGATORY by Tomás Eloy Martínez
Released: Dec. 1, 2011

"Justice of sorts is done in this absorbing finale of a distinguished career."
For his last novel, the Argentinian writer (1934-2010) constructed a maze, at the heart of which is a woman who refuses to give her husband up for dead. Read full book review >
THE GERMAN MUJAHID by Boualem Sansal
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"A worthy subject treated with plodding artificiality."
Algerian writer Sansal makes his English-language debut with a novel about brothers who learn their father was a war criminal. Read full book review >
ALLAH IS NOT OBLIGED by Ahmadou Kourouma
Released: May 8, 2007

"As eye-catching as graffiti, but lacking the emotional power of Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation (2006)."
This fourth and final novel by the acclaimed Ivoirian (1927-2003), published in France in 2000, combines an invented child-soldier's story with that of a gallery of real warlords. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 5, 2006

"Wynne employs all the devices of an expert roman policier."
A spectacular story of vengeance and fraud told with verve and style by British journalist Wynne, translator to English of Michel Houellebecq's The Elementary Particles, 2000, among others. Read full book review >
MAMMALS by Pierre Mérot
Released: May 10, 2006

"Tiresome at times, but with enough laughs to make it worthwhile."
Mérot's first book to be translated into English is the wild tale of a Parisian anti-hero called the Uncle. Read full book review >
HIS BROTHER by Philippe Besson
Released: July 1, 2005

"Besson's prose has a fatalistic Greek gravitas and a stark honesty: a moving novel as memoir."
French novelist Besson's second outing (after In the Absence of Men, 2003) is the spare account of a beloved brother's untimely death. It has the sensory impact of a memoir. Read full book review >
WINDOWS ON THE WORLD by Frederic Beigbeder
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

"Sometimes slight, but always impressive: an important addition to the chorus of heavier, more lifeless tomes on the subject."
From the restaurant that once had the best views in town, 9/11 is witnessed minute by agonizing minute. Read full book review >
PLATFORM by Michel Houellebecq
Released: July 18, 2003

"Posturing, silly, sophomoric—though the glib Houellebecq is good at trying to make you think otherwise."
From the famous, or infamous, Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles, 2000): a pale imitation of himself at his scandalous and probing best. Read full book review >
IN THE ABSENCE OF MEN by Philippe Besson
Released: April 1, 2003

In this relentlessly mournful récit, Vincent de l'Etoile, a youth of godlike beauty and initially confused sexuality (who is, at age 16, "as old as the century"), reveals his chance friendship with a middle-aged author named Marcel and his passionate love for Arthur Valès, a doomed soldier. Besson's restraint provides several plaintive moments, but conversational, epistolary, and ruminative banalities abound, and even a subtly prepared surprise climax fails to interest us much in his gallant sufferers. Absence so far has been compared to Michael Cunningham's The Hours. It's more akin to Françoise Sagan's once-notorious Bonjour Tristesse. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 29, 2000

"Much of the time clumsy, but fiercely interesting."
Houellebecq, who writes in French and lives in Dublin, offers a second try (after Whatever, 1999) that's said to be a hit abroad. Often pretentious—or flat-footed—it nevertheless holds the reader solidly with its guess about mankind's biological future. Read full book review >
SOMEWHERE IN A DESERT by Dominique Sigaud
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

Sigaud's debut (a prize-winner in France) is a self-consciously artful cry against war, but, with its paper-thin people, readers aren—t very likely to find it moving. The Gulf War is over, much to the relief of villager Ali ben Fakr as he sets out across the desert early one morning to buy a horse he's always coveted and now has the money for. When he glimpses a soldier in the dunes, he almost keeps going, but, conscience dictating, stops to look—and, filled suddenly with death-fears of his own, swoons by the soldier's body. He returns later with other villagers to bury the unidentified soldier—he wears simple fatigues, has no dog tags—but something about the soldier keeps the men from doing it. Village women sneak out to see for themselves—and, savior-like, the soldier begins speaking to them of the "after-death" (—They had always wanted a man to speak to them; they wanted nothing else. That he was a stranger, that he was dead, mattered little—). Next morning, his body has decayed and is quickly buried. Who was he? Sigaud's little book, with its wonderful start, grows thin and artificial in flashing back and forth to let us know that an idealistic Jewish kid from Brooklyn named John Miller had been living in Provo, Utah, with his young and pretty wife Mary, a black girl from the Bronx, now a schoolteacher. Drafted into duty, and in moral revulsion at an especially needless act of cruelty, John, near war's end, walked away from his unit into the desert, writing notes to Mary the while (—I love you. I need you here—). Tragic? Potentially, but, fatal to any dramatic impact, the good martyr John remains no more than a symbol, the grieving and perfect Mary little beyond a cipher. A French officer comes a little more fully to life but, being peripheral, helps little. Earnest, well intended, conscientious—and half-real at best. Read full book review >