03 by Jean-Christophe Valtat

Published at the end of June, this intriguing new work in translation from FSG: 03 by Jean-Christophe Valtat.

Not a whole lot out there on it yet, other than the Publishers Weekly review on the Amazon info page. The Complete Review gives it a B, concluding:

03 is a fairly convincing cri de cœur of adolescent confusion, the approach at least a relatively unusual one — even if Valtat goes a bit overboard with the mentally-disabled aspect: beside the girl there’s also “Jean-François, the neighborhood idiot”, and his aunt looks after children with Down syndrome in a religious institution.

Here’s a little info from the publisher:

Former FSG editor Lorin Stein discovered this writer when he was browsing in a bookshop in Paris. The author of three previous books, Valtat had never before been translated into English. 03 was first published by Gallimard in 2005 and was not on submission to anyone in the U.S. or the U.K., so it took a chance encounter in a bookshop to bring this novel to an American readership.

Jean-Christophe Valtat is the author of a book of short stories, Album, two other novels, Exes and Aurorarama. Aurorarama was written in English and is going to be published by Melville House in August 2010. He is currently Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature in the Blaise Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand and he lives in Paris.

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I’m reading this now. Only a few pages in, but I like the writing.

[…] OK, I’m sort of cheating here—Valtat wrote this book in English—but whatever. Valtat sounds really interesting to me, so I’m breaking my own rule. This is Valtat’s second book to come out this year. Just a few weeks ago, FSG published 03, a novel about a man’s memories of a retarded girl he used to see every day and started obsessing over. What’s particularly cool about this book is the way it came into English (from Conversational Reading): […]


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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