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04.11.2019 Europe

Former journalist wins top French literary award

© Pierre René-Worms / RFI
NOV 4, 2019 EUROPE

The Goncourt literary prize has gone to Jean-Paul Dubois for his novel entitled “Not all men live in the world in the same way”, described by the daily newspaper Libération as “a striking and nostalgic novel about lost happiness”.

Le Monde's summary of the winner suggests that we're not talking about classic comic fiction. Dubois' novel is, according to the centrist daily, “a novel about failure, about the art of making a mess of your life, and about the way the dead continue to accompany us on life's journey”.

The summary continues in much the same tone, telling us that the narrator shares a Canadian jail cell with an enormous biker, the prisoner's pastor father is in a permanent crisis of belief, his mother an unflinching atheist. The tone is what Le Monde calls “melancholic humour”.

Jean-Paul Dubois still lives in his childhood home in the southern French city of Toulouse. He used to be a senior reporter at the weekly magazine the Nouvel Observateur. He gave up that job the day he won his last major prize, the Femina, in 2004, for an earlier novel, "A French life".

We've no idea what he plans to give up this time.
Sylvain Tesson wins the non-fiction Renaudot award

The Renaudot prize for the best non-fiction book of the year was also announced, and that goes to Sylvain Tesson for his “The snow leopard,” the remarkable tale of Tesson's adaptation to the discipline of tracking one of the most elusive animals on the planet in the Tibetan highlands, one of the most difficult terrains on the planet, in the company of the French wildlife photographer, Vincent Munier.

Even before today's announcement, Tesson was in second place in the best-seller lists.

The best-selling book in France at the moment is the 38th volume of the cartoon adventures of that beloved Gallic myth, Asterix.