Marie Redonnet

About the Author
Marie Redonnet was born in Paris in 1947. In 1985, after teaching for several years in a lycée, she published her first volume, the quirky fascinating book of poetry Le Mort & Cie (first English translation, Dead Man & Co., Leaping Dog Press, 2004). Her second book, Doublures was an intriguing suite of interlinked short stories (first English translation, Understudies, Leaping Dog Press, 2005). Since then, she has published five novels, a novella, and three dramatic works. The five novels appeared in English translation from University of Nebraska Press. An author of growing international stature, Marie Redonnet has had her work translated into 11 languages: Danish, Dutch, English, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and Swedish.


  • “Built at the edge of a swamp and over an underground lake, the H?tel Splendid had given its owner, the book’s narrator, nothing but satisfaction since she inherited it from her grandmother. The Splendid is the only home the narrator has ever known and she remembers its early history as a incongruously swank hotel (the grandmother had each room built with a toilet, the bane of her granddaughter’s days) shimmering at the edge of nature’s mucky, encroaching chaos. It’s a great image and Redonnet makes skillful use of the broadly metaphoric possibilities. It is the kind of novel Edward Gorey could love and, sometimes, reading Redonnet’s telegraphic prose, one it seems he might even have written.”
         — Publishers Weekly
  • “A frenetic erotic thriller, Nevermore . . . [is] a chilling portrait of mankind’s vulgarity and duplicity.”
         — Times Literary Supplement
  • “Each [novel] features a commanding female protagonist trapped in her place of origin, neither able nor wanting to escape from the home that gave her life but which now threatens to destroy her. The narrator of Hotel Splendid never questions her doomed quest to keep the establishment running, the girl in Forever Valley leaves only when dam construction forces her to, and Mellie turns down several job offers on the continent and submits to nature’s call to death. Redonnet’s prose reads like the barest of poetry, devoid of description, while still managing to paint vivid pictures of the rich landscapes that play a vital role in every story. Most impressively, these three tales represent an evolution of the feminine from the alienated, sexless martyr to the prostituted prepubescent on the verge of self-knowledge to the self-loving, self-determined Mellie, who dies to give her baby a chance at a better life. To her credit, Redonnet packs these jewels with much more: Highly personal images of utopia, the importance of heritage, the necessity of burying the dead to approach the future. Like traveling a very long, very dark tunnel into a blinding bright beautiful light.”
         — Kirkus
  • “French writer Redonnet burst on the American literary scene last year with the English translation of three spare and original novels. Her fourth [Candy Story] is in the same dispassionate narrative mode and once again depicts the life of a lonely woman struggling for a sense of purpose in a disturbingly enigmatic world…. Redonnet has composed a sad, erotic, and mysterious tale, charged with a keen awareness of both our need for dreams and the misery wrought by their denial.”
          — Donna Seaman, Booklist