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Jocelyne Guerbette has lived what can only be described as a normal life. Married for twenty-one years and watching those around her wishing for
bigger things, her life feels dull and uneventful. Only when events are taken out of her control does her outlook on the world begin to change.

When Jocelyne discovers that she has won the lottery and is now considerably richer than she was before, she begins to question her priorities. Electing to keep her big win a secret from those around her, she continues to work on her blog, writing a ‘list of desires’ composed of all the little things in her life she
would like to change. But Jocelyne soon comes to realise that perhaps money isn’t necessarily going to change her life for the better …

Although at a glance it may seem to be a brief, light-hearted tale, this novel is actually very thought-provoking, prompting the reader to ask meaningful questions of their own life. Described by Stylist as ‘a fable-like tale of how money can’t buy happiness’, Delacourt encourages the reader to evaluate their priorities, and to consider what it is that truly makes them happy.

Already an international best-seller, ‘La liste de mes envies’ has sold over half a million copies in France, and has been published in more than thirty countries worldwide. With critics calling it a ‘gem of a novel’, the story has already been adapted for the theatre, and a film is currently in production starring Mathilde Seigner and Marc Lavoine.


Set in Paris in 1975, ‘Le confident’ tells the story of Camille, a young woman in the aftermath of her mother’s death who, on looking through messages of condolence, discovers an anonymous, hand-written letter. Believing it to be simply a story of delivery to the wrong address, Camille thinks nothing of it, until another letter begins arriving each week, causing her to soon suspect that there is a far bigger story unfolding in front of her.

The letters are soon revealed to be from a man named Louis, of whom Camille has no knowledge. He tells the story of a girl named Annie, his childhood sweetheart and first love, and the events involving her at the time of the Second World War. Despite having known nothing of these individuals previously, both Camille and the reader begin to form strong opinions of the characters and incidents described in the letters. When Camille then receives a journal describing the same situations as Louis’ letters but from a different person’s perspective, she begins to question the relevance of the story to her, realising that she might just be more involved in what she is reading than she had previously imagined…

‘Le confident’ is the first novel from Hélène Grémillon, and has already been translated into twenty-four languages. With The Independent saying that ‘the past is skilfully and evocatively conjured’, Grémillon combines World War II events with the life of a woman in the 1970s, touching on themes of love, secrets and revenge, and making it a fascinating read.


The middle of the 19th Century. Narcisse Pelletier, a young sailor from France, awakes one morning during a voyage, having spent the night on a beach in Australia, to find that he is alone, abandoned by the rest of his crew. Realising that there is no one coming back for him, he must quickly adapt and find a way
to stay alive…

Seventeen years later, an English ship happens by chance to land on that same beach, only to discover a tattooed, naked man who has survived for almost two decades by hunting and fishing as part of the tribe that has adopted him. This man is Narcisse Pelletier. Having lost his ability to speak French, even having forgotten his own name, Pelletier has become a mystery - a mystery which lies in the hands of Octave de Vallombrun, a man with one puzzle to solve: what happened to that young sailor now known as the ‘white savage’?

‘Ce qu’il advint du sauvage blanc’ is the first novel from author François Garde. Based on a true story, and described by L’Express as ‘classic and very elegant’, it has already been awarded eight literary prizes (including the Goncourt Du Premier Roman 2012). With elements of mystery and drama, this book is a compelling take on fascinating real-life events.


‘Le sermon sur la chute de Rome’ tells the story of Matthieu, a young man who decides one day without warning to abandon his promising philosophy studies
in favour of opening a bar on the French island of Corsica. Accompanied by his childhood friend Libero, Matthieu sets out to serve the best drinks possible, and to create a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere for his customers.

However, the pair of idealists soon realise that this aim might not be as easily achieved as they had initially hoped. With Corsica currently having the highest homicide rate in Europe, their venture does not go to plan, and they are faced with problems relating to corruption, sex, drink and violence.

According to the author, the title of the novel is a direct reference to a sermon from Augustine, the medieval philosopher, discussing the Sack of Rome in 410 (Ferrari is currently a teacher of philosophy in Abu Dhabi). In an interview, he quoted the following lines from the sermon: “’The world is like a man, it is born, it grows and it dies’”, going on to say that “the same mechanism can apply to empires, to a village bar or to the hearts of men”. Ferrari has previously lived on Corsica, and this novel could be described not only as a comment on the state of Corsican society, but also on human behaviour in general. ‘Le sermon sur la chute de Rome’ is the seventh novel from Ferrari, and has already been awarded France’s top literary prize, the Goncourt, which is awarded each year to the author of the ‘best and most imaginative prose work’.

New: Postal loans

We are now offering our members who live in the UK a postal loans service.

This service is charged in addition to your membership fee. Each postal loan consists of up to 3 items between CDs, magazines and books + 2 DVDs for 3 weeks.

You can choose amongst 3 different options (all renewable during the membership year) the one that will best suit your needs:
- £10: 4 postal loans per membership year
- £20: 8 postal loans per membership year
- £30: 12 postal loans per membership year

Please note that is is your responsibility to pay for the items to be returned to the Library in time for its due date. Items may be renewed if not recalled by another user.

Check the Library catalogues to make your selection and contact the librarian to place your order by phone 0131 225 5366 or email.

L’Oreille musicale

Once a month, the library organise a French rendez-vous in the Bistrot for music lovers. Come and share your knowledge and your favourite CDs, explore the collection of the multimedia Library and discuss a specific theme in a musical atmosphere.

Visit the Events page for details about the next rendez-vous.

Reading group

Join the literary discussion! Bring and discuss in French your favourite books and discover the other members’ own favourites in this relaxed and friendly new workshop. Find out more about the group here.


From 1 September 2012, fines will be implemented at the French Institute Library.

1) For overdue items:
£0.20 per day per item
Maximum fine: £15.

2) For lost or damaged items:
fixed rate of £15 per item.

Card block:
Patrons with a fine of £15 will not be allowed to borrow, renew or request items until payment has been received.

’Coups de coeurs’ of the librarians

Regularly the librarians share their ’coups de coeurs’ with you. Every week, discover here a selection of classics, DVDs, CDs, and chidren books to help you make your own choice in the library.


  • You are an avid reader or just want to read more? You love discovering and discussing books? Join our new reading group now!

  • Interested in comics or documentary books? Want to have fun or to get help with school projects? Check out our children’s collection.

French Institute in Scotland 2014