Sunday, June 01, 2008

Clairvoyante

Clairvoyante is the French title of The Aware, published by J'ai Lu in large format paperback. (I haven't actually seen a copy yet, but my agent has posted a couple, so I hope they will eventually arrive). Over at ActuSf, there is an interview with Thibaud Eliroff who is the J'ai Lu editor for fantasy. Interestingly enough, he remarks that fantasy genre is in its infancy in France - and growing fast.


I like the bit at the end about The Aware which translates (vaguely) as:
Behind what appears at first glance to be a mix of thriller, pirate film and humour (who said Monkey Island?) is a portrait of a woman who has not been spared by life, and a scathing critique of U.S. imperialism. A book which is fun and challenging at the same time.

Wow.

Below are a couple of extracts.

Actusf :
Comment est née l’idée de cette collection de fantasy en grand format et quelle sera sa ligne éditoriale ?

Thibaud Eliroff : On ne s’est pas assis autour d’une table en se disant : "Bon, on va faire de la fantasy en grand format, trouvons des textes." C’est même plutôt le contraire. Quand vous êtes éditeur, vous tombez parfois sur des romans si bons que vous ne pouvez pas renoncer à les publier. C’est exactement ce qui s’est passé avec les trois auteurs à paraître cette année : Joe Abercrombie, Glenda Larke et Sean McMullen, trois futurs ténors du genre qui nous ont incités à franchir le pas séparant le poche du grand format. Au-delà de ces coups de cœur, notre démarche n’est pas dénuée de sens dans la mesure où J’ai lu a toujours été un pionnier de la fantasy, se spécialisant dans ce domaine très tôt, bien avant le boom que nous connaissons aujourd’hui. Les lecteurs nous font confiance et ont fait de nous les leaders du marché de la fantasy en poche depuis plusieurs années. Il me semble légitime de croire que cette confiance nous suivra sur un autre format, pourvu que nous soyons à même de proposer des textes conformes aux attentes de notre public.

....

Clairvoyante, de l’australienne Glenda Larke, nous relate les aventures de Braise Sangmêlé, une femme méprisée pour sa naissance bâtarde, ce qui lui vaut de n’être citoyenne d’aucun des archipels des îles Glorieuses, et la contraint à vivre en permanence dans la clandestinité. Mais dans un monde ou magie carmine et magie sylve s’opposent sans relâche, Braise dispose d’un talent qui vaut cher : la Clairvoyance, ou possibilité de voir la magie, ce dont les représentants des deux camps sont incapables. Elle s’est rendue indispensable à l’un des deux adversaires qui l’emploie en cachette pour traquer ses ennemis sans se salir les mains.

Braise est envoyée en mission à la Pointe-de-Gorth, l’île des laissés pour compte, refuge de tout de ce que les Glorieuses comptent de malfrats et de rebuts. Mais tandis qu’elle mène son enquête, elle se rendra vite compte que quelque chose ne tourne pas rond et qu’elle s’est fourrée dans un guêpier qui la dépasse.
Derrière ce qui apparaît de prime abord comme un mélange détonnant de roman noir, de films de pirate et d’humour (qui a dit Monkey Island ?) se dessinent le portrait d’une femme que la vie n’a pas épargnée, ainsi qu’une critique cinglante de l’impérialisme américain. Un livre à la fois fun et ambitieux.


13 comments:

hrugaar said...

'...si bons que vous ne pouvez pas renoncer à les publier.' Says it all, really. :)

Jo said...

U.S. imperialism? I would have thought that was imperialism generally. Tell me, as an author, doesn't it annoy you when people attribute meanings to your writings? What she was really saying was......

I see a lot of that on TV especially about authors who are no longer with us. A bunch of know it alls telling us what the author really meant. Grrrr. Maybe I am naive, if its a good story I enjoy it. I don't analyse it.

Glenda Larke said...

Merci, Hrugaar...

Absolutely, Jo. Given the chance, imperialism of one form or another is a universal fault of the human race, I fear.

It is, however, interesting what different people see differently in a book. One reviewer once remarked that they thought it to be a comment on the Iraq War - but I wrote the book BEFORE the FIRST war in Iraq, let alone the second!! (Talk about clairvoyance, eh?)

Another reader - who wrote a rather nice Amazon review - remarked something along the lines of it being an entertaining read, good fun, but don't read it expecting any depth because there wasn't any. Same book!!

I love my readers, all of them.

Jo said...

f it comes to clairvoyance, look at the older writers, Isaac Asimov and H.G. Wells for instance, who wrote sci fi which has since come true. I always remember Asimov's Multivac with everyone walking around with handheld devices to log into it. Think internet and Blackberry (or similar). Even in his own time, Asimov wrote about stuff which he later saw come true.

Glenda Larke said...

I was on a panel once with the sf/f writer Tim Powers, when he made a comment something along the lines of this (can't remember the exact words and I'm sure he put it better): if a good writer writes good stories about the concerns of individuals and humanity, then people will recognise themselves or elements of their world in those stories, no matter where the tale is set. Some themes are universal.

Predicting the outcome of certain kinds of behaviour I find a lot easier than predicting where technology goes next!

Jo said...

I had a couple of friends once who used to say that scientists got their ideas from sci fi novels and then went ahead and invented them. Of course Isaac Asimov was a scientist anyway as is Catherine Asaro today so presumably their sci fi ideas are based on their knowledge of today.

ginie said...

i won this book and that how i discovered you ^^

i want more french books of you !
until then i will have to read you in english, not so bad ^^

best in french the following words, as i feel uneasy sometimes to talk in english ^^

J'ai pensé au début que ce serait la même et inéluctable histoire, celle que l'on relit encore et toujours dans tous les livres de fantaisie. Mais j'ai lu et assez rapidement, j'ai été surprise à toutes les pages de découvrir les personnages, les thèmes abordés. Au bout de 20 pages j'étais accro et j'ai commencé à chercher qui avait écrit cette histoire et s'il y avait une suite de prévue ! Je ne suis pas déçue ! C'est vrai ce que dit cet article de monsieur Sambre, je trouve votre écriture surprenante et d'une grande fraîcheur !

merci encore !

hrugaar said...

I also feel uneasy sometimes to talk in English ... and I am English. Go figure. :D

Jo's question about readers' varying perceptions and interpretations is an interesting one. Reader response and feedback is an important aspect of the writer's work of communication - it is to some extent a measure of success, says something about the readers themselves, and can be by turns surprising, frustrating, encouraging, enlightening or even amusing. But I would seldom call it annoying ... unless perhaps the reader/critic himself is in some way annoying (e.g. more interested in his own opinions and issues than what can actually be found in the text).

Jo said...

I guess that is the case Hrugaar with a lot of the critics I see pontificating on things they have read or viewed. They appear to be more interested in their opinions than in anything else.

Yer a Limey Hrugaar, 'ow cum you feel uncomfy wiv English?

I'm a Limey too by the way.

Glenda Larke said...

I too am seldom annoyed by reader's comments - enlightened often, delighted often (merci, Ginie!!), and interested always. Occasionally puzzled, I will admit.

Hrugaar is a Limey, maybe, Jo - but he has lived on a rock off the coast for an awful long while, which probably explains an awful lot...*g*. His visit to Malaysia has just come to an end. I hope I have made a birdwatcher out of him - I did my best anyway.

Ginie - by all means write here in French. I read it quite well, but speak and write it poorly, so I won't try to reply in your own language. But thanks for saying such nice things - and I am very glad that you won a copy of Heart of the Mirage!

hrugaar said...

I'm a Limey? Blimey. As long as that's not bird lime, though. (bird lime = guano)

My family have been English for countless centuries, Jo, and I do love the language, it's wonderfully versatile. But sometimes there are concepts or feelings which are hard to encapsulate in English (at least, not without using too many words via a rather circuitous route) ... one might say that the Greeks have a word for it, the English a sentence, the Americans a paragraph of unintelligible technical vocab. :D But seriously though, when speaking with friends who are born into a different culture with a different mother tongue, sometimes I feel it would be so much easier to be able to explain something to them within their own linguistic framework, without the gap of translation (rather like glenda speaking in malaysian to bemused shop assistants).

Jo said...

I was born in Cheshire, which makes me a Cheshire cat LOL. We moved to Kent after the second world war. I can trace my family back quite a bit too. Hubby's family is descended from Hereward the Wake if you know your English history.

I find French is one of the most long winded languages today especially as the modern names for technology tend to explain them rather than just name them.

My aunt and uncle lived on Jersey for many years by the way. One time I was on Guernsey I bought a lot of Sark Stone.

Anonymous said...

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