Winner of the 2017 Scott Moncrieff prize for translation from French.
The brilliant Dorothy, a Publishing Project has published Suite for Barbara Loden in the US where it’s garnered some wonderful reviews, notably in Harper’s, where Christine Smallwood called it “a little gem”, and in the New Yorker, where Richard Brody describes it as “a remarkable new book that does everything—biography, criticism, film history, memoir, and even fiction, all at once, all out in front.” Nicole Rudick in the Paris Review calls the long extract published in its Autumn issue one of her “favourite pieces”, and describes the book as “one of the most affecting stories I’ve read in a long time“. And for good measure Edan Lepucki wrote a lovely piece about it in the Millions, explaining why she chose it as one of her three books of 2016 and describing it as “delicious and mysterious”.
Staff pick in the Autumn 2016 Paris Review.
‘Brilliant little book’ – Valeria Luiselli, winner of the 2015 LA Times Art Seidenbaum Award for her debut novel, Faces in the Crowd.
‘A remarkable new book that does everything—biography, criticism, film history, memoir, and even fiction, all at once’ – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
‘A little gem’ – Christine Smallwood, Harpers
‘Inventive and affecting. It takes both the novel and the biography to new and interesting places,’ Eimear McBride, The Guardian
‘Beautifully translated’ – Times Literary Supplement
‘Magnetic’ – Amanda DeMarco, The Rumpus
‘Delicious and mysterious’ – Edan Lepucki, The Millions
‘Stunning’ – LA Review of Books
‘Translators Lehrer and Menon give Léger’s voice immense verve in English as her small task becomes an obsession,’ Kirkus Reviews
“Best Fiction Books, 2016”, entropy
Read an extract from Suite for Barbara Loden in 3am magazine.
Read another extract in the Paris Review.
And another in The Believer.
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A writer commissioned to pen a short entry on Barbara Loden for a cinema encyclopaedia embarks on a trip to the US to expand her research. How to paint a life, a personality? Loden’s sketchy biography draws the narrator to Duras, Perec, Godard, Plath, Chopin, Melville, Beckett, Sebald and also a handful of ordinary people, each shedding light on the topic in the making: a singular homage to the 1960s American actress famously married to Hollywood giant Elia Kazan, and to her one and only film, Wanda (1970), hailed as a masterpiece of early cinéma vérité – an anti-Bonnie-and-Clyde road movie about a young woman adrift in rust-belt Pennsylvania. As scenes from Wanda punctuate the pages, elements from the narrator’s own life and that of her mother start coming together to form a dislocated mirror image. This is the first translation of a book that was published in France to enormous critical and popular acclaim, inspired by the life and work of one of the most talented and underacclaimed actors of her time.
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‘It is a real gem of a piece of writing. Highly original and very powerful. And so well translated!’ – Jenny McPhee
‘Léger jump-cuts through time and space with the expertise of a movie director’ – Joanna Walsh
‘A truly remarkable book. I love Leger’s obsessive circling, the connections she draws in and through the Loden/Wanda narrative, some deeply haunting images …’ – Anna Zalakostas (Green Apple Books, San Francisco)
‘An extraordinary book. It reads compulsively and is unlike anything else I have read.’ – Selma Dabbagh
‘Immensely readable, extremely thought-provoking and really quite haunting. And best of all, it achieves that most elusive feat of never reading like a translation.’ – Lydia Syson