Catherine Cusset was born in Paris in 1963. A graduate of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and agrégée in classics, she got two Ph.Ds: one in Paris on the Marquis de Sade, and one at Yale on the eighteenth-century libertine novel. She taught 18th-century French literature at Yale from 1991 to 2002. She is the author of thirteen novels published by Gallimard between 1990 and 2018, among which En toute innocence, Le problème avec Jane (Grand Prix littéraire des lectrices d’Elle 2000), La haine de la famille, Confessions d’une radine, Un brillant avenir (Prix Goncourt des lycéens 2008), Indigo, L’autre qu’on adorait (finalist for the Goncourt 2016, Prix Liste Goncourt/Choix roumain, Choix suisse, Choix belge, and Choix slovène, short-listed for seven literary prizes), and Vie de David Hockney. Her essay on the eighteenth-century libertine novel, No Tomorrow: the Ethics of Pleasure in the French Enlightenment, was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2000, and her novel The Story of Jane was published by Simon and Shuster in 2001. Cusset lives in Manhattan with her American husband and daughter. She is translated into 17 languages.
Life Of David Hockney
A compelling hybrid of novel and biography, Life of David Hockney offers an insightful overview of a painter whose passion to create has never been deterred by heartbreak, illness or loss. David Hockney became a figurative painter when contemporary art was all abstract and minimalist, and an openly gay artist when homosexuality was still a crime. This is an intimate, moving and vivid portrait of a free artist who lived between London and Los Angeles, survived the Aids years, daringly used technology, and turned pain and mourning into an art full of light and joy.
Cusset talked about the novel on NPR to Lulu Garcia-Navarro On May 12, 2019. Read HERE.
Life of David Hockney was named Best Book of the Year by The Advocate.
Kirkus Review wrote:
“Cusset’s style oozes with delicacy, pointedness, and gusto. A perfect short exposé of Hockney’s life as seen through the eyes of an admiring novelist.”
Richard Cytowic wrote in New York Journal of Books, May 14, 2019:
“This book is a gem. A hybrid of biography and novelistic chiaroscuro in which Catherine Cusset, a widely translated French novelist, tells us “I have imagined feelings, thoughts, and dialogue.”
The New York Times, June 4 2019, Ayten Tartici wrote:
“Life of David Hockney feels almost as sunny as the poolside California that was the artist’s longtime muse. Cusset never lets her intellectual digressions slow the tempo of her staccato prose. Hers is an affirming vision of a restless talent propelled by optimism and chance.”
The Economist, June 4 2019:
“Like Mr Hockney, Cusset mixes lush visuals with pervasive melancholy, and as her subject reaches belated maturity, her prose grows increasingly nuanced. By the book’s end, the great painter feels fragile and accessible, both a legend and a fallible man.”
Entertainment Today, July 27 2019, by Brad Auerback:
“What a breezy delight this book is!”
The Story of Jane
What if someone wrote a story all about you. A story that detailed your love life, your relationships, your daily comings and goings? And what if your anonymous author got it all right?
Meet Jane. A professor at an academically outstanding college, she is recently divorced and feeling somewhat unsure, especially in terms of the opposite sex, having had several recent attempts to befriend men go awry. As she leaves her apartment one day, she discovers a package addressed to her in the foyer of her building. Opening it, she discovers that it’s a novel — entitled The Story of Jane. As she starts to read, she realizes that the novel is all about her — her and her love life, or failure at love, to be more exact. There’s no name on the manuscript, no return address on the package. Suddenly uneasy and feeling much too exposed, she retreats to her apartment and sets about reading. At various points during the afternoon she stops to wonder — sometimes in amazement, often in anger –”
The Man We Loved, excerpt from L’autre qu’on adorait translated by Sandra Smith (2016)
The Limits of Autofiction, written for a conference on autofiction at NYU in April 2012. To be published.
A Perfect Future, excerpt from Un brillant avenir, Chapter 1, (2008)
Quite Innocently, excerpt from En toute innocence (1995)
Q & A-Literatura de azi (Literature of Today), Bucharest, October 2017 Interview made in English and translated into Roumanian by Odilia Rosianu