Richaud, Frédéric 1966–

views updated

Richaud, Frédéric 1966–


Born 1966, in France.


Home— Paris, France.




Luc Dietrich, Le Temps qu'il fait (Cognac, France), 1998.

René Daumal, L'archange, B. Grasset (Paris, France), 1998.

Boris Vian: C'est Joli de Vivre, Editions du Chêne (Paris, France), 1999.


Monsieur Le Jardinier: Récit, B. Grasset (Paris, France), 1999, translation by Barbara Bray published as Gardener to the King, Arcade (New York, NY), 2000.

La Passe au Diable, Grasset (Paris, France), 2002.

La Ménagerie de Versailles, Grasset (Paris, France), 2006.

Jean-Jacques, Grasset (Paris, France), 2008.


Frédéric Richaud was born in the south of France in 1966. He eventually moved to Paris to work and to write. In 1998 he published two books about French writers,Luc Dietrich and René Daumal, L'archange. In 1999, Richaud published Boris Vian: C'est Joli de Vivre, about the mid-twentieth-century French writer and musician.

Also in 1999, Richaud published his first novel,Monsieur Le Jardinier: Récit, which was translated into English a year later by Barbara Bray and published as Gardener to the King. The novel relates the environment and happenings at Versailles during the days of King Louis XIV as told by the palace's gardener, Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie. A former lawyer with a nonconformist past, La Quintinie devoted himself to the study of horticulture. His knowledge of the plant kingdom and the care and precision he gives to the royal gardens and fields impresses the king but draws ire from those who wish to be close to Louis for their own political gain. La Quintinie eventually comes in contact with the radical Philippe de Neuville, forcing him to act on his complacency with Louis' attitude towards the country's impoverished poor.

The novel received critical acknowledgment from the trade publications. Reviews for Gardener to the King were mostly positive. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Helen Pitt concluded: "In this adroit translation by Barbara Bray, Richaud paints a vivid picture of the inequities of prerevolutionary France." Rachel Hyde, writing on, noted that "Richaud packs a lot into this little book and gives the essence of what being a gardener is like." Hyde described the novel as "entertaining, laconic but low on historical facts … high on thoughtful comparisons though." In a Booklist review, Brad Hooper stated that "Richaud's focus may be narrow, but his story has the resonance of a beautiful piece of music." A contributor to Publishers Weekly found the "slight but charming tale" in Gardener to the King to be "a refreshing departure from the sweeping historical novel." The same contributor concluded: "Readers desiring a brief, elegant immersion into 17th-century France will find it to their liking."

Richaud followed up the success of Gardener to the King by publishing La Passe au Diable in 2002. After a brief hiatus, he published two other novels,La Ménagerie de Versailles in 2006 and Jean-Jacques in 2008.



Booklist, April 1, 2001, Brad Hooper, review of Gardener to the King, p. 1454.

New York Times Book Review, May 13, 2001, Helen Pitt, review of Gardener to the King, p. 24.

Publishers Weekly, May 21, 2001, review of Gardener to the King, p. 82.

Times Literary Supplement, December 15, 2000, Jennifer Potter, review of Gardener to the King, p. 21.

ONLINE, (October 30, 2007), Rachel Hyde, review of Gardener to the King.

About this article

Richaud, Frédéric 1966–

Updated About content Print Article