Monday, December 9, 2013

french toast

“French authors routinely appear in the English-speaking world's lists of the best novels ever - Voltaire, Flaubert, and Proust… sometimes Dumas and Hugo too. But when it comes to post-war literature, it's a different story. Even voracious readers often struggle to name a single French author they have enjoyed.
     France once had a great literary culture, and most French people would say it still does. But if so, how come their books don't sell in the English-speaking world?
     Is that our fault or theirs?
     And how come the French themselves read so many books that are translated from English and other languages? […]
     Even Marc Levy, whose romantic adventures have sold more than 40 million copies around the world and whose first book If Only It were True inspired the 2005 Hollywood movie Just Like Heaven, finds the attitude of UK and US publishers deeply irksome.
     ‘The caricature of a British publisher is someone totally convinced that if a book is French then it cannot possibly work in the UK market,’ he says. ‘I often joke that the only way to get published in Britain if you're French is to pretend you're Spanish. If you've been a best-seller in France, it's a sure-fire recipe for not getting a deal in the UK.
     ‘As for US publishers, they're so convinced that with 350 million potential readers and a big stable of American writers, they've got everything covered - every genre, every style. So why bother?’”
— Hugh Schofield, BBC News Magazine
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Buy all of Marc Levy's books (in French and English) here...

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