Smoking Kills, by Antoine Laurain (trans. Louise Rogers Lalaurie), Gallic Books, June 2018
First published in France in 2008, Smoking Kills pre-dates Laurain’s established successes in English (The President’s Hat, The Red Notebook and French Rhapsody, all translated by Gallic Books). When executive headhunter Fabrice Valantine resorts to hypnotism in the face of the smoking ban (and not a little pressure from his high-powered wife, a curator of questionable contemporary art) the results are unexpected, even strangely satisfying… A romp through Parisian bourgeois-bohemia, with more than a hint of darkness below the surface.
“Antoine Laurain is as dry as a chilled Chablis and makes merry nonsense of the theory that the French can’t laugh at themselves. […] His cast of characters is brilliant […] Formidable — and essential packing for any French summer holiday.”
Wendy Holden in the Daily Mail.
“Smoking Kills has the pleasing wierdness that makes Laurain’s novels so appealing, but it is altogether darker…”
“Every detail is wreathed in smoke and irony […] guaranteed fun for all smokers who have vowed to go down fighting.”
Back Up, by Paul Colize (trans. Louise Rogers Lalaurie), Oneworld, February 2018
Belgian author Paul Colize’s critically acclaimed noir novel is a wild trip back to the Sixties, and bang up-to-date, evoking the fabled decade’s long, dark shadow over so many young lives – those who made it, and those who went down with the crystal ship…
“The rock-and-roll aesthetic of the plot kerrangs through the swift and exciting prose.”
World Literature Today
“This book [builds] to something darker than expected. It’s all fun, drugs and rock’n’roll until the bodies start piling up… Drug fuelled paranoia or realistic fears? […] Murders or accidents? All this [against] a background of music from Chuck Berry to Hendrix and from Montreux to Berlin, with drums resonating like a heartbeat through its pages.”
Abridged from a reader preview on Net Galley
The King of Fools, by Frédéric Dard (trans. Louise Rogers Lalaurie), Pushkin Vertigo, May 2017
The latest in Pushkin Vertigo’s series of new translations from the master of vintage French noir. Set in 1950s Antibes and Edinburgh, this is a character-driven, Hitchockian thriller with a deceptively light touch.
‘What really makes the book a worthwhile and enjoyable read is [the hero’s] voice, in its boredom, desperation, and passion […] An almost off-hand, casual little thriller […] a fine, even impressive, light read.’
Michael Orthofer in The Complete Review.
Murder Most Serene, by Gabrielle Wittkop (trans. Louise Rogers Lalaurie), Wakefield Press, October 2015
Gabrielle Wittkop’s 18th-century poisonfest celebrates the beauty, corruption and terrifying, dark heart of the Serene Republic on the eve of its downfall. A fabulous introduction to the work of France’s self-styled, latterday Sadeian.
‘This is dark, rich, deeply disturbing writing, conscious of its artifice and expertly manipulating that.’
Michael Orthofer in the Complete Review, November 2015.
‘… a virtuosic translation by Louise Rogers Lalaurie.’
Joshua Cohen in Harper’s Magazine, October 2015.
Published in French in 1994, to wide acclaim, and available now in English for the first time, Anne Cuneo’s remarkable dissection of early 17th-century Europe tells The Life and Sometimes Secret Adventures of Francis Tregian, Gentleman and Musician, the real-life compiler of the celebrated Fitzwilliam Virginal Book: virtuoso muscian, swashbuckler and spy, a proud, Catholic patriot persecuted for his adherence to a faith synonymous with treason in his home land of Cornwall and beyond. A profoundly humane account of an extraordinary life, steeped in its author’s scholarship, full of contemporary resonance.
Click below for readings from the novel, and music from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book played by Patrick Ayrton for the launch of Tregian’s Ground, April 28, 2015, at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.
Forty Days Without Shadow, by Olivier Truc (trans. Louise Rogers Lalaurie).
Little, Brown/Trapdoor, April 2014.
Truc’s richly atmospheric crime début is set in Lapland – the Sami territories of northern Scandinavia – as the sun returns after forty days of winter darkness. Investigating the theft of a priceless shamanic drum from a local museum, and a savage murder in the depths of the vidda, Reindeer Police officers Klemet Nango and Nina Nansen stir up bitter clan feuds, political rivalries, and old demons – not least their own.
* Shortlisted for the 2014 Crime Writers Association International Dagger.
‘Forty Days Without Shadow has won numerous awards and justly so […] Highly recommended: just as we might have thought Scandinavian crime was exhausted, a brilliant new voice comes along.’
Jane Jakeman in The Independent.
The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain (trans. Louise Rogers Lalaurie, Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce)
Gallic Books, 2013
When France’s President Mitterrand leaves his famous Homburg hat in a Paris brasserie, the iconic item of headgear embarks on a tour of Paris society in the mid-1980s, with life-changing results for all who find it…
‘… this book may indeed zip along, [but] there is something clever going on under the surface. The reviewer from Le Figaro […] was reminded often of Marcel Aymé, […] but I think Laurain is being a little slyer, purposefully less exuberant than Aymé. Is this, or is this not, an allegory of power? I like the way we are invited to reply both “yes” and “no” to this question, […] teetering pleasantly on the edge of Gallic whimsy.’
Nicholas Lezard in The Guardian.
The Explosion of the Radiator Hose, by Jean Rolin (trans. Louise Rogers Lalaurie)
Dalkey Archive Press, 2011
Traveller, grand reporteur and psychogeographer Jean Rolin is one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary French literature, widely compared to W.G. Sebald, Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux. He won a lifetime achievement award at Etonnants Voyageurs 2012. Accompanying a battered Audi over sea and land to Kinshasa, and a new life as a Congo taxi (for the family of his friend Foulon, a Congolese army officer exiled to Paris) Rolin paints a profoundly humane portrait of a troubled region, shot through with his characteristic, self-deprecating wit.
‘…the most amusing and erudite shaggy dog story I’ve ever heard […] Tightly executed, unwaveringly gripping, and laugh-out-loud funny, each short chapter is packed with literary allusions—to Sebald, Proust, and Conrad, whose own Congo adventures and those in Heart of Darkness haunt Rolin’s story. […] Rolin’s prose is unusually precise and complex, with sentences that are very long and multi-clausal but never hard to follow. Louise Rogers Lalaurie is the book’s talented translator.’
Emma Garman at Words without Borders