The Literary questionnaire of
Actress and friend of the House Clémence Poésy opens up about her relationship with reading and mentions the books that she learned from.
Does your lifestyle allow you to read as much as you would like to?
Sadly no… For a few years, I have been reading more for my work and children than for myself. To fight this lack of time, I tend to read non-fictional books – collections I can leave and go back to easily – for example Zadie Smith’s brilliant Intimations or the beautiful Spring cannot be cancelled by David Hockney.
Is there a particular book that has affected how you lead your life?
Mary Oliver’s poetry… Always always always.
“The most “physical” reading I have ever had was the one of A little life by Hanya Yanagihara. I sometimes needed breaks to catch my breath, I needed to leave the book for a few days in order to calm down. (…) But it’s a wonderfully powerful feeling to go through a piece of art this way, and it’s one of my favorite books ever.”
What is the most liberating book you have read?
Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body by Sara Pascoe – a fascinating history about women’s bodies – deeply political and infinitely funny.
What is the most harrowing book you have ever read?
The most “physical” reading I have ever had was the one of A little life by Hanya Yanagihara. I sometimes needed breaks to catch my breath, I needed to leave the book for a few days in order to calm down after reading the terrible story of what happened to Jude, the hero. But it’s a wonderfully powerful feeling to go through a piece of art this way, and it’s one of my favorite books ever.
Which fictional heroine would you like to be?
I have an extroardinary memory of Gabrielle in Anne-Marie Garat’s Dans la main du Diable.
What is the best place to read?
A hammock… or a train.
Are you more romance novel or adventure novel?
Love without adventure will always interest me more than adventure without love…
Do you prefer long novels or short stories?
I love both. Immersing into decades of life like in What I loved by Siri Hustvedt, or being struck by the clear burst of an almost short-story like Small things like these by Claire Keegan for example are two relations to reading that I love equally.
Which book would you like to see adapted to film?
The one I am currently adapting and that should be my first feature film, Expectation by Anna Hope. A book that I’m crazy about.
The title of a book you always offer as a gift?
Depending on the age of the person I am giving it to, Florence Seyvos’ Le Garçon incassable, Toby Alon by Timothée de Fombelle or Need a House? Call Ms. Mouse by George Mendoza.
Zadie Smith, Intimations, Penguin Books, 2020.
David Hockney, Spring Cannot Be Cancelled: David Hockney In Normandy, © Thames Hudson, 2021.
Sara Pascoe, Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body, © Sara Pascoe, 2016. Published by Faber & Faber Ltd.
Hanya Yanagihara, A LITTLE LIFE, Published by Doubleday, 2015.
Anne-Marie Garat, Dans la main du diable, © Actes Sud, 2006.
Siri Hustvedt, What I Loved, © Hodder and Stoughton, 2003.
Claire Keegan, Small Things Like These, © Grove Press, 2021.
Le garçon incassable, Florence Seyvos, © Éditions de l’Olivier, 2013, nouvelle édition, 2021.
George Mendoza, Need a House? Call Ms. Mouse!, © The Estate of George Mendoza 2023. Published by New York Review Books.
George Mendoza, Need a House? Call Ms. Mouse! © Ashley Mendoza 2022. First published by Grosset and Dunlap Inc. and Librairie Ernest Flammarion in 1981. English language edition published by New York Review Books (2023) and Allen & Unwin (2022).