Thursday, 28 June 2018

Such a good adult book it could almost be YA - Clémentine Beauvais

A short one today!

A friend of mine (the wonderful Marine Carteron, a bestselling author of children's literature in France, with celebrated series such as Les Autodafeurs and Génération K) offered to her Facebook friends a fun question the other day:
What adult book have you read recently that's so good it could almost be a YA book?
The point, of course, is to poke fun of all the people who say to YA authors: 'your YA book is so good it could almost be a book for adults!'. But there's some good thinking in it. We all read books nominally 'for adults' and think sometimes, 'this one is lost on adults. It would be so much better in YA, where it would actually reach a lot more people and speak directly to their hearts...' We mean books with a strong, beautiful viewpoint on youth, the intensity of feeling thereof, the crises and delights of that time of life. Why oh why, do we think, is it published as 'adults', thereby failing to reach its most devoted potential targets?

(I wrote an ABBA blog post about such books a few months ago.)

Here's my own recently-read finding from the Adult List which would be an ideal YA book: The Greenhouse, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (translated by Brian FitzGibbon, though personally I read the French translation by Catherine Eyjólfsson).

This gorgeous, charming Icelandic novel is wasted on adult readers, I believe, because only YA readers are best-placed to grasp the full extent of its existential questioning. It's about being young, and yet full of responsibilities one didn't decide to contract; it's about finding beauty in roses and gardening, a truth little achieved past the age of The Little Prince and The Secret Garden; and it's about sex, and thinking of sex all the time, which adults have bravely learnt to repress.

How about you, dear ABBAers? which adult book is wasted on adult readers, and is SO GOOD it could (almost) be a YA book?

Clementine Beauvais is a writer and literary translator. Her YA novels are Piglettes (Pushkin, 2017) and In Paris with You (Faber, 2018).

1 comment:

ctalk3p & Сталкер said...

Good morning !

It is so hard to find a good book for adults that has no murders, sex, drugs or is not about war, prison, some plague or science fiction.
Maybe I am to be to blame, maybe I should have searched more.

I have a title of a book that can be read by young and old readers:
"Croce d'oro"/"Golden cross" by Luigi Paniccio - the "In the name of the rose" by Umberto Eco genre.

Another might be :
"Las caras de la medalla.Los Premios"/"Faces of the medal.The Winners" by Julio Cortazar. This is a little bit harder for younglings but is my recommandation for you.

I also have a title of a book good only for children: "Brat mlčanlivého Vlka"/"The brother of the lonely wolf" by Klara Jarunkova.

For those that want to develop "the scales of a dragon" naming the cynical approach of life : "Monte Cassino" & "Bloody Road to Death" by Sven Hassel