Magazine article World Literature Today

La Liseuse

Magazine article World Literature Today

La Liseuse

Article excerpt

Paul Fournel. La Liseuse. Paris. P.O.L. 2012. isbn 9782818014172

Paul Fournel's new novel encourages us to think about the way we read books-and about how the way we read books is changing. The title refers to an e-reader that is pressed upon Robert Dubois, the head of a Parisian publishing house, in the name of efficiency and modernity. Dubois is a paper-and-ink guy, long devoted to typescripts, mountains of which encumber his office. As he attempts to come to terms with his new e-reader, he recognizes that his profession has skewed his own reading practice. Rarely does he read a finished piece of writing these days, spending his time instead with manuscripts in various stages of completion. Moreover, his profession itself is not what it was when he first began. It's a significantly embattled one now; people read fewer and fewer books, and the publishing world has been invaded by money men and bean counters of all stripes. Yet Dubois realizes, too, that his profession has always been in crisis, and that such a crisis, addressed with creativity, intelligence, and tact, can be turned to the advantage of literature and the people who care about literature. …

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