As a book lover, you are always looking for new books to read, new genres or lesser-known books, and you may also look into trying to diversify your reading as much as possible. Now the French not only have a beautiful language, but they also produce an enchanting array of French literature that would give you the perfect opportunity to try something new!
Read on to discover our picks and let us know in the comments below if you’ll be giving one a go!
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo | Goodreads
You’ve probably heard of this book as it has been made into a renowned musical and also a movie which has won many awards. But the book… It’s an emotional rollercoaster that’s for sure and even though its length seems daunting, you will not get bored. The novel is embellished with the most complex “misérables” characters whom the author makes sure you know every detail of their lives. Inspired by the Paris Uprising of 1832, this long narrative deals with social injustice, and shows the power of redemption.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert | Goodreads
Emma Bovary expects life to be like romance novels, except hers is nothing like that. She leads a boring rural life with her husband, Charles Bovary, a doctor. Her quest to find the luxury she dreamt of leads her into failed adulterous affairs and debts. The novel’s descriptions are beautifully written and the dialogue is very realistic.
La Princesse de Clèves by Madame de La Fayette | Goodreads
One of the earliest psychological novels is La Princesse de Clèves and sees a tale of forbidden love take place in the court of Henry II of France. A young woman, Mademoiselle de Chartres, joins the court in hopes of finding a man to marry. She finally marries the Prince of Clèves, who she admires very much but doesn’t love. Soon after, during a ball, she meets the Duke of Nemours, and a violent and shared loved is born. The novel studies the princess’ feelings as she is torn between passion and honour, love and royalty.
Une Vie by Guy de Maupassant | Goodreads
This book follows a woman from the moment her heart is awakened until her death. It tackles different themes such as adultery, religion, marriage, death, love and malice of human kind. Une Vie is an excellent novel, not only incomparably the best novel by Maupassant, but almost the best French novel since Hugo’s Les Miserables, as Leo Tolstoy wrote in a preface to a Russian edition of a selection of Maupassant’s stories.