My Life as Edgar


Translated from by

Published: May 16, 2023



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Book Description

Edgar loves nothing more than listening to the birds in the trees, the squeaking of moles in nearby chalk quarries, the conversations trickling out of the carpeted offices surrounding his favorite park in the suburbs of Paris. He also listens to the hushed conversations of passersby, strangers who whisper that he is “not all there.” But what constitutes the supposedly insufficient nature of Edgar’s interior life? Dominique Fabre gives himself over to Edgar’s way of seeing, his sensitivity, his innocence and wisdom, his longings and perceptions, his tentative interpolations into the social fabric of 1960s France, and in each passage we find a stirring answer. Fabre’s lucid, layered, and utterly fresh bildungsroman will take you by surprise and leave an immutable mark on your heart.

As a narrator, Edgar is as compelling as he is frank in his self-revelations. His thoughts follow no logic and range quickly between topics about which he assumes the addressee – the psychiatrist who first assessed him at the age of three – has full understanding. Equally, sudden flashes of information unintentionally disclose the poignancy of his life . . . However, this striking, original novel never plays Edgar's plight for pathos. Instead, through the resourceful use of fiction's possibilities, we discover a bitter form of truth.
Declan O'Driscoll, The Irish Times

A sort of savant, somewhat developmentally disabled but clairvoyant, Edgar spends the first years of his life with his divorced mother, then is sent to a foster family in Savoie . . . Sensitive, innocent, and wise, he has an unusual sense of humor that shows the inverted world in which he lives . . . Fabre’s tale . . . carries an important message: saving language and culture from oblivion is one important way to repair the world.
Alice-Catherine Carls, World Literature Today

Praise for A Waitress Was New

The strong, intimate voice of this gentle, canny narrator continues to stay with us long after we reach the end of The Waitress Was New – what an engrossing, captivating tale.
Lydia Davis

Fabre gives Pierre a fabulously realized voice, gravened by loss and softened by routine into something lived - in and real - seeming . . . 'They're your equals,' Pierre says, of the people who pass and pass, and pass through his life. 'They'll leave you a tip on their way out, but whatever they've left hanging in their lives hasn't budged a bit.' The same goes for the narrator of this mesmerizing, true little book.
John Freeman

Fabre's prose (as translated by Jordan Stump) is spare and impressionistic, elegant yet matter - of - fact . . . vivid, haunting, deeply moving, this is fiction that has much to tell us about the profundity of daily life.
David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times

Simply and elegantly captures the dignity of a day's work, the humanity of friendship and the loneliness of aging.
Kirkus Reviews

The reserved, melancholy, and resigned tone that Fabre strikes is maintained beautifully throughout the book, and he has given Pierre just enough wit to lighten things up from time to time. . . . This is a quiet book, but one that promises to stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
E. J. Van Lanen

For his U.S. debut, Fabre offers a poignantly funny, slender slice of a French waiter’s life . . . In Fabre’s patient, deliberative layering, the details of Pierre’s quotidian life assume an affecting solidity and significance
Publishers Weekly

Fabre becomes the lyrical, compassionate spectator of all these infinitesimal, silent lives — our lives — as they move between leaving the sub urban underground station and arriving home. It is a tiny fragment of life, simply told and yet touching in the extreme. When Fabre writes, he ‘really believes in the possibility of showing you genuine beauty, genuine dignity and places or people that have been somehow overlooked.’ Mission accomplished.
French Book News

Praise for Guys Like Me

Fabre is a genius of these nuanced, interior moments . . . The story Fabre tells is that of every one of us: looking for meaning in the mundane, moving through our lives, our interactions, as if through the fabric of a dream . . . How do we live? it asks to consider. And: What does our existence mean?
David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

Fabre’s unexpectedly touching novel has a laugh of its own behind its low - key, smoothly translated narrative voice . . . The city it evokes isn’t the Paris of tourists but of local people.
Nancy Kline, New York Times

Guys Like Me is a short, arresting tale that . . . not only offers keen insights into the mind of its middle - aged protagonist, but also provides the reader with a unique tour of what everyday life in the low - key suburbs of Paris must truly be like
Typographical Era

Fabre has an artfully rambling style, employing stream - of - consciousness, inserted conversations, finely observed details, and sundry speculations. These disparate stylistic elements thus form a complex literary mix . . . Like the novelist Patrick Modiano . . . he knows the city, especially the non - touristic quarters, like the back of his hand.
The Arts Fuse

The setting may be Paris, but it’s not the Paris of grand avenues and pricey cafés. In fact, Fabre’s hero is a recognizable everyman, from any country.
Library Journal

Fabre speaks to us of luck and misfortune, of the accidents that make a man or defeat him. He talks about our ordinary disappointments and our small moments of calm. Fabre is the discreet megaphone of the man in the crowd.

A smile like a soft flash of light . . . travels through this moving novel and tells, in words that are muted and profoundly humane, of life as it is.
Le Monde

In this novel one finds the intimate geography of an author who lays bare the essence of Paris and its outskirts.
La Quinzaine littéraire

Edgar, for all his concerns about the gaps in his memory, is an endearing child trying to tell his own story as best he can. In the process, he unwittingly tells a much larger tale about the lives of children whose parents are unable, or unwilling, to care for them, the systems in which they find themselves—day homes, boarding schools and foster families—and the value of consistency and support, wherever one may find it.
Joseph Schreiber, roughghosts