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2021 | Best Fiction

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

From Mohamed Mbougar Sarr's hymn to literature (winner of the Prix Goncourt) to Christine Angot's autobiographical story breaking some diehard taboo's, the best fiction published this year delves into murky waters.

La plus secrète mémoire des hommes, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr | P. Rey

The best surprise of the new literary season is the fourth book by Mohammed Mbougar Sarr, a young Senegalese writer, barely 30 years old and living in France. An ambitious, very stylish novel, a vast mise en abyme full of reflections on literature itself, without the result turning into an exercise in self-referential style. A fascinating story masterfully embodied between Europe and Africa, about the mysterious book of an almost cursed writer, carried by the bewitching voice of a character who will not soon be forgotten.

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Le voyage dans l'Est, Christine Angot | Flammarion

In her latest novel, Christine Angot looks back on the rapes she suffered as a child, twenty-two years after the publication of Incest. Through the narrator's voice, she recounts the grip her father had on her from the age of 13 until 16. Breaking a fundamental taboo, she delivers a sharp, sometimes clinical, always implacable story. With great lucidity, she questions the notion of consent and dismantles the mechanisms - intimate, familial or legal - that allowed this slow and silent deflagration at the heart of her life. Christine Angot undoubtedly signs her strongest book, rightly rewarded by the Médicis prize.

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Changer : méthode, Édouard Louis | Seuil

In his fifth autobiographical book, Édouard Louis recalls his trajectory, from the Picardy village of his childhood to the city of Amiens where he was a student eager to learn the social codes of the bourgeoisie, to bubly Paris. He lists, chapter after chapter, everything he had to sacrifice to conform to this bourgeois world: his hometown, his family, his name, and his body. With great honesty, Édouard Louis remembers his successive metamorphoses and he bravely pursues a personal yet hybrid literary project. Between autofiction and activism, he keeps "writing books which are weapons for others".

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Hors gel, Emmanuelle Salasc | POL

Summer 2056. A siren alarm rings whenever a water pocket inside the nearby glacier threatens to burst. The sound awakens the memory of a disaster that occurred one hundred fifty years earlier and Lucie, who took refuge in the mountains, hides Clémence, her disturbed twin sister. The world they live in looks strangely like ours, before and after the covid-19 pandemic, but worse... Part ecological dystopia, part family thriller, Hors gel is a bewitching novel and Emmanuelle Salasc expertly delivers an anthology of our buried fears: the ancestral fear of disaster as well as the secret fear of loss.

Traverser la nuit, Hervé Le Corre | Rivages

Bordeaux under the rain. An unpredictable killer lurks in the shadow of the streets. A disillusioned cop, continually confronted with macabre violence, sets out to find him. At the same time, Louise, who lives alone with her eight-year-old son, is severely beaten by her former companion.

By linking these three destinies, Hervé Le Corre delivers a dark and captivating thriller, in the best noir tradition.

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