Monday, June 24, 2024

Q&A with Antoine Laurain


Photo by Pascal Ito@Flammarion



Antoine Laurain is the author of the novel French Windows, now available in a new translation from French to English by Louise Rogers Lalaurie. Laurain's other books include An Astronomer in Love. He lives in Paris.


Q: What inspired you to write French Windows?


A: One inspiration is the view from my apartment in Paris! I can see many buildings and many windows, even some of my neighbors on the other side of the courtyard.


I thought maybe a building with all its floors could be like a book with chapters, with characters, events, lives... And why not a murder on one floor? That could be the mysterious part of it. 

Q: How did you create your characters Nathalia Guitry and Dr. Faber?


A: Nathalia saw something, and she took a pic with her camera. She pretends it's a crime. True or lie? That's the first question. Then she is going to write a story of the floors she can see from her windows, same question again: are the residents real or pure imagination? You will find the answer at the end of the book.


Dr. Faber is the person she discusses her writing with, as though they were short stories.  He tries to understand if they are real or not, like a game. I like the idea of the therapy room, the sofa, the silence for their discussions, like a bubble out of time. 


Q: What do you think the novel says about the nature of truthfulness?


A: Perhaps the novel says that everything is always true, but just “hidden” behind symbols, alternative names, masked changes you need to understand. 


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: I hope they take pleasure in reading about all the different lives and destinies, floor after floor, and experiencing the suspense as they approach the truth at the end. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Guess what: another book!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I hope you will enjoy this little trip in Paris. Think of it as a long weekend inside an old Parisian building in my city, with a mysterious plot. 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Antoine Laurain.

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