Audouard, Antoine 1956-
AUDOUARD, Antoine 1956-
PERSONAL: Born August 6, 1956, in France; married Susanna Lea (an editor). Education: Attended Pasteur de Neuilly and Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Houghton Mifflin Company, Adult Editorial, 8th Floor, 222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116-3764.
CAREER: Laffont-Fixot (France), publishing director for six years; full-time writer, 2000—.
Marie en quelques mots, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1977.
Le voyage au Liban, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1979.
Abeilles, vous avez changé de maître, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1981.
Adieu, mon unique, Gallimard (Paris, France), 2000, translation by Euan Cameron published as Farewell, My Only One, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2004.
(With others) Inca, XO (Paris, France), 2001.
Une maison au bord du monde, Gallimard (Paris, France), 2001.
La peau à l'envers, Gallimard (Paris, France), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: As the son of writer Yvan Audouard and grandson of the surrealist Andre Thirion, French author Antoine Audouard was born into an artistic family. In addition, his godfather is writer Antoine Blondin. After completing his studies, Audouard worked as an editor at several Parisian publishing houses and wrote his first three novels between 1977 and 1981. He left his last editorial position in 2000 to return to his writing.
Audouard's first book to be published in English translation is Adieu, mon unique, translated as Farewell, My Only One, an historical novel based on the lives of twelfth-century lovers Peter Abelard and Heloise. The story is narrated by Guillaume d'Oxford, or William of Oxford, a man who, wrote Roland A. Champagne in World Literature Today, "triangulates the story into a secular version of the divine Trinity." Champagne went on to note that "What distinguishes Audouard's take on the Abelard story is Guillaume's odyssey toward his independence from the master."
Abelard, a twelfth-century philosopher and theologian, was sometimes referred to as the Aristotle of his time. In the novel, William becomes devoted to Abelard after attending his lectures, as does the young Heloise, whose uncle and guardian, Canon Fulbert, puts her in the middle-aged Abelard's care with the intention of making her the most educated woman in France. While William loves Heloise from a distance, she and Abelard become lovers, eventually marrying and having a son. Heloise moves into a convent, and the couple continue to meet secretly, but their relationship is forever changed when Fulbert exacts revenge for his betrayal by ordering the castration of both men. From that time on, Abelard and Heloise lead religious lives and communicate only through their letters, while William copies their correspondence and acknowledges his own love for Heloise.
Chicago Tribune contributor Lisa Simeone called Audouard's writing "moody and poetic," while Booklist reviewer Kristine Huntley called Farewell, My Only One "a lyrical, beautiful meditation on an all-consuming passion."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Farewell, My Only One, p. 1607.
Chicago Tribune, August 13, 2004, Lisa Simeone, review of Farewell, My Only One, "Tempo" section, p. 3.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2004, review of Farewell, MyOnly One, p. 587.
Publishers Weekly, June 14, 2004, review of Farewell,My Only One, p. 41.
World Literature Today, spring, 2001, Roland A. Champagne, review of Farewell, My Only One, p. 352.
Cannongate Web site,http://www.canongate.net/ (February 3, 2005), profile of Audouard.*