Viviane

A Novel

The stunning debut novel that made author Julia Deck an instant sensation in France

“[A] masterfully conceived debut, a relentless tale, intricately and irresistibly told.” —La Quinzaine Littéraire

Winner, French Voices Award
Nominated for the Prix Femina , the Prix France Inter, and the Prix du Premier Roman for a first novel

Only once in a great while does a new novel come along that takes a literary scene by storm, demonstrating real innovation in the craft of storytelling. Julia Deck provides this force in Viviane—the first debut novel in a generation to be released by the most prestigious literary publisher in Paris, Éditions de Minuit. This breakthrough novel—nominated for the Prix Femina, the Prix France Inter, and the Prix du Premier Roman and already a bestseller in France—is sure to become a contemporary classic.

Viviane is both an engrossing murder mystery and a gripping exploration of madness, a narrative that tests the shifting boundaries of language and the self. For inspiration, Deck read the work of Samuel Beckett, because, as she says, “he positions himself within chaos and gives it coherence.” How can we say that we are who we say we are? What determines our actions, and are we really responsible for them? For Viviane Élisabeth Fauville, these are not abstract questions to be left for philosophers; they will decide whether she will get away with murder.

Translated by one of the most celebrated literary translators working in French and written in irresistible, lucid prose, Viviane takes us to the knife’s edge of sanity. This gem of a novel does what only great literature can do: turn us inside out.

This work, published as part of a program providing publication assistance, received financial support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and FACE (French American Cultural Exchange).

Praise

“[A] masterfully conceived debut, a relentless tale, intricately and irresistibly told.”
La Quinzaine Littéraire
“Julia Deck now belongs to the most exclusive and prestigious family of French literature. . . . In the current literary landscape, her novel stands out and on its own.”
Le Nouvel Observateur
Viviane is a work of extraordinary passion, intelligence, and style. A beautifully controlled wild ride of a novel that will thrill readers to the point of vertigo.”
—Sigrid Nunez, author of A Feather on the Breath of God
“Julia Deck . . . astonishes us with the tension between her limpid, polished style and the protean complexity of her narrative.”
Le Magazine Littéraire
“[Julia] Deck’s novel, which was widely lauded in France, complemented by [Linda] Coverdale’s unobtrusive translation, burrows deftly and unrelentingly into a troubled mind.”
Publishers Weekly
“Written with a delirious and intimate urgency, Julia Deck’s debut novel, Viviane, is a remarkable and troubling portrait of murder and madness. Bravo!”
—Lily Tuck, author of The News from Paraguay

News and Reviews

French Voices Award Panel

Julia Deck’s new novel Viviane—a stunning debut that made the author an instant sensation in France—was one of twelve recipients of the 2013 French Voices Award, presented by the French American Cultural Exchange and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. On February 6, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy held the French Voices Awards ceremony to honor the American publishers and translators selected for the prize. The ceremony also included a special homage to late New Press Founding Director André Schiffrin for his contributions to independent publishing.