Seven short stories by the Prix Goncourt winner—“the most distinctive voice of his generation . . . master magician of the contemporary French novel” (The Washington Post).
France’s preeminent fiction writer, Jean Echenoz is celebrated for his ability to craft stories with such precision that readers are caught off guard by the intense emotion and imagination just beneath the placid surface of his writing. As Gary Indiana put it in his essay “Conjuror of St. Germain”, “Echenoz risks everything in his fiction, gambling on the prodigious blandishments of his voice to lure his readers into a maze of improbabilities and preposterous happenings.”
The Queen’s Caprice—seven stories available in English for the first time—reveals Echenoz at the height of his talents, taking readers on a journey across radically different landscapes. The title story explores a tiny corner of the French countryside; “Nelson” offers a brilliant miniaturist portrait of the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar; “In Babylon” sketches the ancient city of Mesopotamia, based on trace descriptions from Herodotus; and other stories visit the forests of England, the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, Tampa Bay, and the interior of a submarine. Amid the thrill and allure of this voyage of words, “again and again we pause to savor the richness of Echenoz’s startling, crystalline observations” (Lydia Davis).
“[A] terrific sense of humor tinged with existential mischief.” —L’Express