The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell

The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell

“Four nightmarish novellas . . . The writing is sinuous and propulsive; disturbing images are rendered with icy, swift precision.” — The New Yorker
After the astonishing success of his Prix Goncourt-winning debut novel, The Kindly Ones, Jonathan Littell began publishing more books with two of France’s most prestigious houses: Gallimard and the small Montpellier publisher Fata Morgana. To the latter he gave four strange novellas revolving around sex, love, and memory. We are proud to publish them in one volume as The Fata Morgana Books.

Ranging from swimming pools to art galleries, from beds to battlefields, and a few mythical places, these novellas are narrated by hermaphrodites, ghosts, wanderers, and wonders. Littell here once again mixes his love of the grotesque with time-twisting narratives and ethereal protagonists. Like an Italo Calvino or a Clarice Lispector, Littell channels the emotions of loss and desire to illuminate the shadowy depths of solitude, reflection, longing, and lust.

With fleet prose and Proustian self-reflection, these stories range from chaotic airlifts to a series of bullfights under the hot sun, fatal negotiations resolved as mathematical equations, and the nine circles of Hell. Commanding and beguiling, The Fata Morgana Books rings with depth and mystery, always pushing through to explore the in-between spaces: between thoughts, between bodies, between hungers and their satisfactions, between eyes and the things they look at.

Praise for The Fata Morgana Books:

“A living, breathing, sublime collection of novellas that ignite the reader’s imagination and entices their most base of desires to grab control.” — Typographical Era

“A gorgeous tour through a world of human excess and futility . . . exhilarating.” — Numéro Cinq


“Jonathan Littell’s The Fata Morgana Books is the most startling expression of the tradition of the nouveau roman in a generation.” — The American Reader

“Littell is fearless in his descriptions of sex, masculinity, and femininity. . . . There is no gendered body in Littell’s work, everything is fluid.” — The Collagist

“Here genitalia prove as amorphous as the desires they incite, and slaughter leaves only casual impressions upon its casualties. . . . As much as we loathe these atrocity exhibits, we turn every knob. Littell has organized the mechanisms, but our desire is what fuels the machine.” — BOMB

“Littell’s stories are structurally elegant . . . The Fata Morgana Books is a frequently thought-provoking [read].” — Foreword Reviews

Jonathan Littell received the Prix Goncourt for his 2006 novel The Kindly Ones, called by Time magazine “unmistakably the work of a profoundly gifted writer.” A former worker for Action Against Hunger in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, he is the author of several works in French.

Charlotte Mandell is the translator of numerous award-winning works of innovative French literature, among them The Kindly Ones, Zone by Mathias Enard, Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong by Pierre Bayard, and works by Proust, Blanchot, and Jacques Rancière. She lives in New York City.

Cet ouvrage a bénéficié du soutien des Programmes d’aide à la publication de l’Institut Français. This work, published as part of a program of aid for publication, received support from the Institut Français.