These are 490 novels that tumble in bookstores between mid-August and October, according to Livres Hebdo. The level “the lowest for more than 20 years”, specifies the specialized magazine.
The literary re-entry, a tradition as French as the crossover Julyists-Augustians in the Rhône Valley, may be criticized, but it remains the almost obligatory passage to win the Goncourt, the Renaudot or the Femina.
“Dear connard” (Grasset) by Virginie Despentes, punk figure of letters and former member of the Goncourt jury, is the title that is most talked about, five years after the third volume of “Vernon Subutex”.
This epistolary novel on addiction, feminism, movement
On addiction, “I do not defend any thesis”, told Télérama the author of “King Kong Theory” that the media describe as more peaceful, at 53 years old. But on feminism, she remains inflexible, as explained by her main character, Rebecca Latté.
– Musso shifts –
The other headliners are called Amélie Nothomb, faithful to the literary season, with “The Book of the Sisters” (Albin Michel), or the journalist Monica Sabolo.
“La Vie clandestine” (Gallimard), which combines autobiography and investigation of the far-left armed group Direct Action, is seen as a serious candidate for the prizes.
Franck Bouysse (“The Populated Man”, Albin Michel), Alain Mabanckou (“The Trade of Lying Down”, Seuil), Christophe Ono-dit-Biot (“Find Refuge”, Gallimard) or Miguel Bonnefoy (“The Inventor” , Rivages), confirmed novelists, benefit from ambitious launches from their publisher.
Among young authors, Émilienne Malfatto, Goncourt of the first novel 2021 (“The colonel does not sleep”, editions of the Basement), Lucie Rico (“GPS”, editions POL), David Lopez (“Vivance”, Seuil), Guillaume Perilhou (“They are going to kill your sons”, The Observatory) or Blandine Rinkel (“Towards violence”, Fayard) could cause surprise.
The undisputed number one in book sales, Guillaume Musso, is republishing a formula that succeeded last year: let the wave of August publications pass, and move to the end of September (“Angélique”, Calmann-Lévy). Same strategy for rising star Mélissa Da Costa, whose “La Doublure” (Albin Michel) will be the second publication of 2022.
Among the foreign novels, we should point out the return of the Irish Sally Rooney (“Where are you, admirable world?”, L’Olivier), the successful author of “Normal people” or the grating “Cléopatra et Frankenstein” by the American-British Coco Mellors (with Anne Carrière).
– Cost of paper –
Within Editis and its fifty or so publishing houses (Nathan, Robert Laffont, Plon…), the context is special. The parent company, Vivendi, is preparing to sell this group.
The literary season is an opportunity for booksellers to attract customers they have found too rare since the beginning of the year. Fears for purchasing power, the war in Ukraine and political news leaving little room for culture weighed.
According to GfK, the start of the 2021 school year had weighed 50 million euros, for more than 2.5 million copies sold. According to this institute, a reference for book sales, “the 2022 trend is difficult to predict, given the price increases to come”.
Publishing, after years of near-stability in prices, is indeed forced to pass on the increase in costs (of paper, logistics) and global inflation.
But a single success, sometimes very unexpected like that of the Goncourt 2020 prize, “L’Anomalie” by Hervé Le Tellier, whose circulation has now exceeded one million copies, can be enough to ensure a good end to the year. to booksellers.
Dozens of authors can dream of such a fate. It is still necessary to convince the literary juries, launched in debates under the seal of secrecy before publishing their first selections in September.