Best New French Books for 2019

France has had its share of contributing the best literature in the world. Who could ever forget the likes of Victor Hugo and Jules Verne whose works have become famous worldwide. A new generation of French writers are hoping to follow in their footsteps and have written novels that have gotten attention outside France. Here are five of these best new titles to come from France.

About Time: A Visual Memoir around the Clock by Vahram Muratyan

This book is a visual memoir inspired by Muratyan’s travels around the world. About Time is a meditation and a celebration at the same time of how we spend our lives. The author walks us through his experiences in a funny, chic and thought-provoking way as it reminds us how our experiences can influence or define relationships, what kind of memories it will leave behind and determine if your dreams will be nightmares or not. Not to be confused with the sci-fi romance movie About Time.

Birth of a Bridge by Maylis de Kerangal

The novel is set in a fictional California town called Coca. John “Boa” Johnson is the town’s newly-elected Mayor and his goal is to re-invent the town based on his experience during a trip to Dubai where he saw the grand landscape, particularly the construction of a bridge the world has ever seen. Of course this bridge is more than just a structure that would make Coca prosper, but also a symbol. Its completion would be the embodiment of America and what it is all about, its progress, ambition and triumph of engineering.

A Theory of a Drone by Gregoire Chamayou

Written by philosopher Gregoire Chamayou all about (you guessed it, drones). Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) have become a staple in the ongoing War on Terror. They have been used in carrying out missions considered dangerous to humans. Although its users (the government) considers them cost-effective and “safe,” it is not perfect as evidenced by occasional collateral damages incurred when non-combatants get caught along with the intended target. In this book, Chamayou analyzes how these drones have revolutionized warfare and look into its moral and legal implications; considering a war can be fought behind a computer screen, by remote control without fear of getting hurt or killed but unaware that there could be those who would be caught in the attack.

Limonov by Emmanuel Carrere

This is a pseudo-biographical novel of Eduard Limonov, a Russian political figure as well as a man of letters. The novel looks into every aspect of Limonov’s life from his younger days to his climb to power which is fraught with obstacles along the way. He is a subtle and loyal figure with a tendency to become violent when he gets frustrated. He is someone who is judged depending on one’s perspective. He may a hero to some, a villain to others. But this book is not just about Limonov, but serves as reflection of Russia’s history since the end of World War II.

The Memory of an Elephant: An Unforgettable Journey by Sophie Strady

The children’s book is about a place where animals have human-like qualities. To be specific, it centers on an elephant named Marcel who is writing an encyclopedia filled with facts he recalls from his incredible memory, something elephants are famous for. Besides facts, his encyclopedia also contains parts of his life story as he recalled all his experiences, emphasizing the significance of his surroundings and how beautiful life is being surrounded by nature and all its splendor.