On tour: Muriel Barbery
French author Muriel Barbery’s latest novel The Life of Elves (Text) is the story of two children whose amazing abilities ‘bring them into contact with magical worlds’. She will travel to Adelaide Writers’ Week, Sydney’s All About Women Festival, Melbourne and Wellington in February and March.
What would you put on a shelf-talker for your latest book?
For those who like to dream of a better world.
What are you reading right now?
An anthology of ancient Chinese poetry.
What are you planning to read next?
A novel by George Sand, Consuelo (various imprints). I admire both the writer and the woman. But if the woman is often praised, one often forgets that she is an immense writer.
Which book do you always recommend?
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (various imprints). The whole of human life is in there.
What was the defining book of your childhood?
As strange at it might seem, In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (various imprints). My mother would tell me all its stories and I knew all its characters before I had a chance, long after, to read it myself.
If you were a literary character you’d be …
The cat in I am a Cat by Soseki Natsume (Tuttle Publishing).
What’s your favourite book adaptation (film, television or theatre)?
Maybe Dangerous Liaisons by Stephen Frears, adapted from Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos, masterpiece of the 18th century’s French literary splendor.
What’s your favourite books website or blog?
I mostly haunt bookshops.
Hardback, paperback or digital?
Anything with paper and ink.
Facebook or Twitter?
I barely know what it is.
In 50 years’ time books will be …
Books! Eternal books!