I took college level French in the sixties. Having grown up twelve miles from the Mexican border, taking Spanish classes in Junior and Senior High School, and having an exchange student from South America living with me meant my Spanish was pretty good. At the University Spanish was not suggested for my major’s language requirement, so I shifted to French.
They speak of how knowing one Romance Language makes all the others easier. In some ways I expect that’s true. But no one warns you that learning similar languages can screw up your knowledge of both languages. To this day I inter-mix French words with Spanish words and sometimes throw in an English word when I’m really frustrated.
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A few years back I read a little novel by Eric Chevillard called On the Ceiling (Au plafond) which told the story of a young couple living with the parents who see that there is no longer any room for all the people in the home so the young couple moves to the top side of the house and takes up residence on the ceiling. I remember being fascinated by the imagination of this new French writer and immediately ordered many of his other titles; unfortunately, Au plafond was the only one at that time which was translated into English.
The current list of Chevillard’s work is still mainly in French but a few titles have been translated. Here is the list from Wikipedia:
- Mourir m’enrhume, Minuit, 1987.
- Le démarcheur, Minuit, 1989.
- Palafox, Minuit, 1990. (Palafox)
- Le caoutchouc décidément, Minuit, 1992.
- La nébuleuse du crabe, Minuit, 1993. (Fénéon Prize) (The Crab Nebula)
- Préhistoire, Minuit, 1994.
- Un fantôme, Minuit, 1995.
- Au plafond, Minuit, 1997. (On the Ceiling)
- L’œuvre posthume de Thomas Pilaster, Minuit, 1999.
- Les absences du capitaine Cook, Minuit, 2001.
- Du hérisson, Minuit, 2002.
- Le vaillant petit tailleur, Minuit, 2004. (Wepler Prize)
- Scalps, Fata Morgana, 2005.
- Oreille rouge, Minuit, 2005.
- D’attaque, Argol, 2006.
- Démolir Nisard, Minuit, 2006. (Roger Caillois Prize)
- Commentaire autorisé sur l’état de squelette, Fata Morgana, 2007.
- Sans l’orang-outan, Minuit, 2007.
- Dans la zone d’activité, graphisme par Fanette Mellier, Dissonances, 2007.
- L’autofictif, L’Arbre Vengeur, 2009.
- En territoire Cheyenne, Fata Morgana, illustrations de Philippe Favier, mai 2009.
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