cover image Julien Parme

Julien Parme

Florian Zeller, , trans. from the French by William Rodarmor. . Other Press, $23.95 (259pp) ISBN 978-1-59051-280-7

Impetuous 14-year-old aspiring writer Julien Parme hasn't quite gotten over the death of his father from cancer five years earlier, and his latest bout of bad behavior has led to a grounding by his strict Protestant mother. That means skipping the Champs-Elysées birthday party of “hottie” senior Emilie Fermat, the actress-daughter of a TV producer. News of his mother's impending marriage, however (to live-in “jerk in a goatee and corduroy pants” François), propels Julien into the Paris night. He's in love, sort of, with his French teacher, Madame Thomas, who's very inspiring when teaching Jean de la Fontaine in sheer blouses, but he's also especially taken with Emilie's horse-loving younger sister, Mathilde. Rodarmor's translation makes Julien—who narrates—read like a sweetly knowing update of Holden Caulfield, complete with boarding school stint. Hilarious moments of bravery and deceit win the reader over utterly. (June)