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ISBN 978-0-9930093-0-3
First published March 2015; 128 pp paperback with flaps; 180 x 120 mm
£12.00

Nathalie Léger is an award-winning French author, as well as an editor, archivist and curator. Supplément à la vie de Barbara Loden won the prestigious Prix du livre Inter 2012, voted for by readers across France. Other works include L’Exposition (2008), a semi-fictionalised essay about the Countess of Castiglione, and Les Vies Silencieuses de Samuel Beckett (2006). She curated the 2002 exhibition on Roland Barthes and the 2007 exhibition on Samuel Beckett, both at the Pompidou Centre. Since 2013 she has been the Director of the Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine, a unique cultural institute dedicated to the archives of 20th and 21st century French writers. 



 
 
Nathalie Léger  Suite for Barbara Loden

translated by Natasha Lehrer and Cécile Menon

 

       Published by Les Fugitives

‘It takes both the novel and biography to new and interesting places.’
     – Eimear McBride, Guardian Books of the Year, 2015

‘Here, now, is a remarkable new book that does everything – biography, criticism, film history, memoir, and even fiction, all at once, all out in front. The book is Suite for Barbara Loden, by the French author Nathalie Léger, which was originally published in 2012 and is recently out in English translation. It’s all the more remarkable for doing so much in a mere hundred and twenty-three pages (in the translation by Natasha Lehrer and Cécile Menon) . . . Léger’s multifaceted approach to Loden’s life and work is itself organized around a powerful magnetic field of her own ideas and passions – her recognition of Wanda as an essentially feminist masterwork.’
     – Richard Brody, The New Yorker (full review here)

‘In hugely reductive terms, this is Geoff Dyer’s Zona meets Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick: an open and intelligent piece of art criticism drifts into broader critique of social and cultural issues, and is honest about the fact that it can’t do any of these without also being autobiographical. That it is published in a beautiful edition that gives a boutique twist on the classic French livre de poche style, by a brand new British publisher proudly asserting their ownership of an important but overlooked niche, only adds to the charm. Book of the year.’
     – Jonathan Gibbs

‘Brilliant little book’ – Valeria Luiselli
‘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

‘This beautiful book is striking for its echoes of artists who are either quoted or (never gratuitously) emulated, including Godard, Fred Wiseman, Sebald and Perec.’
La Quinzaine littéraire
‘Beautifully translated’ – David Collard, Times Literary Supplement


A writer commissioned to pen a short entry on Barbara Loden for a cinema encyclopaedia embarks on a trip to America to expand her research. How to paint a life, a personality? Loden’s sketchy biography draws the narrator to Duras, Perec, Godard, Plath, Kate 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 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 her mother’s start forming a fragmented mirror image. First published in France to enormous critical and popular acclaim, this is the first book about and inspired by one of the greatest, most unconventional actresses of her time.


‘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 moving, subtle novel about the need to create’ –
Le Monde

‘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)

To read an extract from Suite for Barbara Loden on the 3:AM website, click on the image below.