Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chevillard's night

We had another wonderful  French night, two weeks ago, 
welcoming Eric Chevillard's novels.

Eric Chevillard has been publishing since 1987.
He is published by the very famous and very demanding French publisher Editions de Minuit and his novels place him in the tradition of humoristic novelists such as Laurence Sterne. The stories he tells have a touch of nonsense and his characters are misfits who could figure in a Beckett or a Kafka novel. He has the style of a literary master : his sentences expand through absurd details and considerations about the character's story.

As for example, in the begining of Prehistoric times the narrator gives precise details about the uniform he has to wear : the uniform doesn't suit him because it belonged to Boborikine, the man he replaced. Boborikine didn't quite fit in the uniform either because it belonged before him to Crescenzo who was smaller and thiner. Both men were physically different but had to wear the same uniform and respect to the job it represents : 
"a uniform needs nobody except to make it stand".

Isabelle Milkoff and Margaret George reading the first chapters of Prehistoric Times

In "Lecture with Slides", a chapter taken from The posthumous works of Thomas Pilaster, the lecturer is warning his audience about a very strong ecological issue : "the desert is advancing". The precise description of this sandy invasion is mixed with foolish considerations about the causes and dangers it represents. The irony in Eric Chveillard's novel is met with crualty. 

Philippe Aufort and Tom Radigan reading "Lecture with Slides"

with a strong conviction !

It was a convincing and scary reading, indeed
because, Ladies and gentlemen, be aware :

"The desert is advancing"

In The Rabbit,  the bunny shape of a head-rest cover in a car is very quietly and precisely described. It is the perfect illustration of our age that insists to "surround ourselves with children's toys".  It takes a while before we understand that this head-rest cover designed as a bunny is what is left of a wrecked car.

Emmanuelle Ertel launched the reading of the short story 
which was translated by her students of the Master of Literary Translation in NYU.

Bonnie Zaleski, Victoria Sheehan and Brett Ray 
are here on the starting blocks to begin their reading 

Everyone is carefuly listening

and our faithful young audience is having fun.

After the reading some time for a chat

and for pictures !

It is so nice to make people happy !

The translations of the three Chevillard's excerpts were done by
Alison Waters for Prehistoric times
Christopher Clarke for The posthumous works of thomas Pilaster
and by students in the Master of LiteraryTranslation program at NYU for The Rabbit

If you missed Chevillard, go visit his daily blog :

See you soon, folks !
We'll let you know as soon as possible when our next French Night is happening.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Eric Chevillard for our 11th French night on 10/17

We are back !

The summer was great and we are thrilled to come back for a new French night, on October the 17th.

We will be hosting Eric Chevillard's novels. Eric Chevillard  is published by Editions de Minuit and belongs to the kind of writers this publishing house most likes : his style is extremely precise and rich.  He tells stories with a distant irony that encompasses not only the content but also the genre. He is one of the most prolific novelists of his generation, publishing almost a book every year since 1987.
He also has a blog since 2007 where he writes three sentences every day.

We will read excerpts of three of his books.

Our first reading is taken from Prehistoric times, written in 1994 and translated by Alison Waters.  She won the French-American Foundation Transaltion Price in 2013.

After Boborikine's death, the narrator of this novel takes over Boborikine's job as a guide in the prehistoric cave of Pales. He also has to put on Boborikine's uniform. But something goes wrong...

We will also read from The posthumous works of Thomas Pilaster, written in 1999 and translated by Chris Clarke for his Masters thesis in 2012

 The poet Marc-Antoine Marson celebrates the works of his friend, Thomas Pilaster, by publishing and commenting on them. His highly admirative comments at the beginning of the book become more and more critical...

Finally we will read the short story "Bunny" in the collection published under the title Scalps by Fata Morgana in 2004. This short story is translated by Emmanuelle Ertel's students in the Masters of Literary Translation program at New York University.

Commenting on our taste for tacky car accessories, the narrator introduces a car where a seat cover of a bunny decorates the diver's seat....

Funny and cruel at the same time, the narrator is both efficient and distant.  Eric Chevillard is one of the most exciting and challenging French writers of our time.

Join us for an outstanding new French night
at the Cornelia Street Cafe
Cornelia Street 29, NY
W 4 on the E, A, C

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Welcome to our tenth French Night

We had such a great time, during our latest French Night.

A lot of people came to share this bilingual moment with us 

A rare one but a strong one in a place we love

Faithful visitors were there

as well as new ones
and it was so nice to feel they appreciated the moment.

Families are welcome

Nathalie's lovely sons who came to support their mother !

Translation is a passion !

Literature and happy hour rime

Little chat before we start 

A smile on everyone's face

 Why resist it ?

We got started with Pim, the Butcher, the main character of Joy Sorman's novel,
Like a beast - Comme une bĂȘte.

Lara Vergnaud (above)  and Nathalie Roussel (below) read excerpts of the two first chapters 

and we could hear 
"the butcher chops up pigs in fast-forward, 
disjoints vertebrae bone by bone, 
extracts a rack of ribs, carves a rump steak"

Thanks to Lara's translation, the text in English is as uninhibited 
as it is in French

Then Emmanuelle Ertel and her students who translated the text read excerpts of the first chapter
of In the sky with diamonds - Tous les diamants du Ciel, by Claro,
 in which the young baker fixes his bread in the midst of the night.

Thanks to Andrew Olshevki,  

Emmanuelle Ertel,

Coralie Hamache, 

Aurora Bell,

 and Matthew Berenbaum
for their reading and their translation
and thanks to all the other students who contributed as well

And last but not least, Tom Radigan and Isabelle Milkoff read the two first chapters
of Viviane Elisabeth Fauville by Julia Deck
in which you are not feeling very well 
because you just had a kid, 
got divorced 
and killed your psycho-analyst, 
which you should not have done !

The French nights are over for the season now but they will come back as soon as possible in the fall
Don't miss them