26.03.2024 #literature

New French and English-language literary releases

On the occasion of Luxembourg’s presence at the forthcoming Brussels Book Fair, we present the latest publications of Luxembourg literature in French and English, as well as the latest novels by the authors who will be giving a reading on Friday 5 April from 3.00 to 3.45 pm at the Scène Savoirs at the Brussels Book Fair (*).

Corina Ciocârlie Rouge fantôme
Capybarabooks, 2024, Novel, French

Based on the exploration of a half-real, half-fictional territory, this literary investigation invites the reader to (re)discover – with archive photos and quotes from authors – the history of the Luxembourg coalfield, starting from a place that has disappeared in the Italian quarter of Dudelange. Over the pages and through the generations of migrants who lived there, a treasure hunt unfolds in concentric circles around the zero point, a stone statue of a young woman with amphorae, whose whereabouts are now lost. With her wavy hair and graceful silhouette, this Roman goddess landed on Luxembourg soil and was a magnet for all those who, for one reason or another – a wedding, a couple’s portrait, a family Sunday – wanted to be ‘immortalised’ in the garden of the Café Rossi. A café that has since been demolished, located in a street whose name – Gare-Usines – sums up the history of a town – Dudelange – situated in the middle of the archipelago of angels – Differdange, Rumelange, Schifflange & Co – and twinned with towns from the four corners of the Old Continent: Feltre in Italy, Manom in France, Lauenburg in Germany, Lębork in Poland, Arganil in Portugal, Berane in Montenegro.

Rouge fantôme de Corina Ciocarlie, capybarabooks

Tiziano Fratus, Cœur de forêt – Forest Heart – Cuor di Foresta
Michikusa Publishing, 2023, Poetry, French / Italian

Tiziano Fratus, one of the most original voices in Italian nature writing, is also something more: he is a radical poet, a tree seeker, a philosopher who thinks and finds his thoughts in the woods. His dendrosofia is a desire for arboreal wisdom in which everything is in dialogue with everything else: roots, leaves, birds, insects, sounds, moods, time.

Coeur de fôret

John-Paul Gomez, The Idiot of St. Benedict and Other Stories
Black Fountain Press, September 2023, Novel, English

1st prize National Literary Competition 2022 in the ” Adult Authors ” category

In John-Paul Gomez’s stories, we discover an unlikely medieval church, a dreaded hospital appointment, and characters who emerge from the past, buried but never forgotten. These stories take place somewhere between the world of ‘Black Mirror’ and the imagination of Ray Bradbury. The protagonists find themselves on the uncertain border between reality and the forces of another world, beyond their control. Dystopian ‘what if’ scenarios mingle with everyday concerns and relationships that are losing their lustre. Everything seems to be slipping away from us, our ability to focus as a collective is diminishing more and more, and it’s clear that something is very, very wrong…

The Idiot of St Benedic, John-Paul Gomes, Black Fountain Press

Rafael David Kohn, Medea Ajax & Tecmessa
Black Fountain Press, 2024, Theatre, English

Rafael David Kohn’s version of Medea raises essential questions about abandonment, defiance and revenge. As a director, Rafael David Kohn was a pioneer of English-language theatre in Luxembourg.

Medea Ajax & Tecmessa, Rafael D.Kohn, Black Fountain Press

Robbie Martzen, A Pint of Fish Fingers – Tales of Wonderer
Black Fountain Press, 2024, Prose, English

Why do we travel? And why do Luxembourgers travel so much? Is it the small size of the country – and the resulting claustrophobia for some – that makes it so easy for them to adopt other places as their home away from home? In twenty-six ‘letters’, Robbie Martzen reflects on his own travel experiences and how it feels to be able to compare – and possibly see – your own home in a different light.

A Pint of Fisg Fingers, Robbie Martzen, Black Fountain Press

*Antoine Pohu, Nous sommes celleux qui marchent dans la ville
Capybarabooks, 2023, Short story, French

An old king walks through the devastated streets of his city. As his bare feet wander through the rubble and dust, he remembers his children, whom he failed to listen to when they came to him one by one to air their grievances. Until they no longer came alone and his only response was to send in the army, triggering a civil war.

Nous sommes celleux qui marchent dans la ville d'Antoine Pohu, Capybarabooks

*Jean PortanteUne dernière fois, la Méditerranée
Editions Phi, 2023, Fiction, French

Une dernière fois, la Méditerranée brings to a close the trilogy opened in 2015 with L’architecture des temps instables and extended in 2019 with Leonardo. Here we find the Nardelli from Mrs Haroy ou la mémoire de la baleine, who became Rossi in the course of writing, as well as Jean Portante’s favourite themes: migration, war, generational intermingling, secrets buried in the layers of time, and the skilful amalgam of fiction and autobiography. This time, he takes a diversion into the founding myths of travel and exile.

Jean Portante, Œuvres Poétiques Tome 2 : Le Travail de l’étrange langue (2002-2012)
La rumeur libre Éditions, 2024, Poetry, French

Volume 2 presents the poetic work of Jean Portante from 2002 to 2012. The texts published in the collection La Bibliothèque de La rumeur libre wink beyond historical periods and the compartmentalisation of literary genres, participating in a re-evaluation of thought and civilisation, recreating the march of a humanity reconciled with the vitality inherent in the flow of the written word.

Nathalie Ronvaux, L’homme de la rivière
Zoom éditions, 2023, Short stories, French

L’homme de la rivière is the first micro-story in a series entitled L’homme-né du dic’t’on. Inspired by a quotation or saying, the author, with humour and derision, twists the original meaning, or takes it literally. The first text in this series is inspired by a quotation from Lao-tzu: “If someone has offended you, don’t seek revenge. Sit down by the river and soon you will see his corpse go by“. After being humiliated, the protagonist of the story decides to sit on the banks of the river until he gets his redress.

L'homme de la Rivière de Nathalie Ronvaux, Zoom Edition

Davide Sapienza, Le cours éternel des choses – Il durante eterno delle cose
Michikusa Publishing, 2024, Poetry, French / Italian

These poems represent a special parenthesis in Davide Sapienza’s work because, as those who know him will know, they were written at a particular moment in the life of a man who came to the crossroads of two paths, one leading down to the valley floor and the other to the heights, invisible in the fog. Davide chose the latter path, and these poems illustrate it.

Claude Schmit, Yeshuah – une vie de jésus après sa crucifixion
Éditions Phi, 2023, Novel, French

What if Jesus had not died on the cross? What if two friends, deceiving the Romans, had saved him? What if, having recovered from his terrible wounds and specialised in luxury carpentry, he had gone to Rome, under his Hebrew name, and experienced the refined life of the cultured Romans: the baths, the games, Stoic philosophy, the cult of Dionysus, friendship, opulence, the many gods and love with Sulpicia? One day, a man from Jerusalem recognised him, and years later Yeshuah learned that he was the son of God risen from the dead. And then…

Yeshuah, Claude Schmit, Edition Phi

Jean Sorrente, Blasons d’histoires et Trois contes
Hydre Editions, 2023, Short stories, French

Whether you read them out of order or not, fiction is about the art of combination. They are linked by a secret alchemy that is not just thematic. The stories are the stuff of fiction, insofar as they have been seen, heard and/or experienced. They involve characters, plots and drama. They have symbolic, even allegorical connotations. What makes characters act in the light of their tribulations and intertwined destinies? Desire, the driving force behind all mimicry. Here are a few examples.

Blasons d'histoires de Jean Sorrente, Hydre Editions


Florent Toniello, Honorable Brasius
Hydre Edition, October 2023, Short stories and speculative fiction, French

Sorcerer, celestial tramp, charlatan? In any case, for those who seek his services, blind Brasius is the ‘honourable one’. With his dog Enza, he untangles the web of problems that only the supernatural can solve or explain. It’s a gift that excuses many of his faults… such as his grumpiness and vulgar language. In the uncertain future in which these two evolve, genetic manipulation of cows has led to a very special civilisation on Callisto, and space mining operations could well endanger the entire Earth. Five short stories linked by the strange, which question the future of humanity.

Honorable Brasius, Florent Toniello, Hydre Editions