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Lie with Me
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About the Author

Philippe Besson is an author, screenwriter, and playwright. His first novel, In the Absence of Men, was awarded the Emmanuel-Robl s Prize in 2001, and he is also the author of, among others, Late Autumn (Grand Prize RTL-Lire), A Boy from Italy, and The Atlantic House. In 2017 he published Lie With Me, which has sold more than 120,000 copies and was awarded the Maisons de la Presse Prize, and A Character from a Novel, an intimate portrait of Emmanuel Macron during his presidential campaign. His novels have been translated into twenty different languages.

Molly Ringwald's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, and Vogue, and she is the author of the bestselling novel-in-stories When It Happens to You.

Reviews

"There's much book-to-filmstar appeal in this moving, well-plotted tale: Elle dubbed it "the French Brokeback Mountain"; there's something of Call Me by Your Name's Elio in Philippe, who lives in the books he reads and writes; and actress and writer Ringwald ably translates."
--Booklist

"Moving ... Besson's writing and Ringwald's smooth translation provide emotional impact."
--Publishers Weekly "Besson is a thoughtful writer who can strike home with vivid imagery . . . . [and] deftly translated [by Ringwald]."
--Kirkus
"I remember the movement of his hips pressing against the pinball machine. This one sentence had me in its grip until the end. Two young men find each other, always fearing that life itself might be the villain standing in their way. A stunning and heart-gripping tale."
--Andr Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name

"This is a gorgeous fever dream of a book. Ringwald's translation does elegant justice to Besson's balance of beauty and despair, and to his interrogations of memory and longing. Lie With Me positively glows in the dark."
--Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers "Lie With Me is an exquisite whisper that lingers long after you've finished reading it."
--Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend "In spare yet evocative prose, elegantly translated by Molly Ringwald, Philippe Besson relates the erotic awakening of two adolescent boys in a small French town in the 1980s. Lie With Me captures their world with the grainy poignancy of an old high school yearbook, while movingly conveying the quintessential human dramas of longing, love, and letting go."
--Caroline Weber, author of Proust's Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-si cle Paris "The uncanny thrill of Philippe Besson's Lie With Me rises up from Molly Ringwald's elegant translation with the intensity of meeting a stranger on a train who tells you a single unforgettable story and then leaves. And his voice haunts me still."
--Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel and The Queen of the Night "A timeless love story, written with the unmistakable ache of truth. Molly Ringwald's translation is as clear and beautiful as the story it depicts. You'll read it in a night, but its exquisite heartbreak will linger."
--David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife "At first erotic and joyous, ultimately elegiac and haunting, Lie With Me is a deceptively slender book as big as life itself."
--Rumaan Alam, the author of That Kind of Mother and Rich and Pretty "This gorgeous, aching novel captures all of the fear and freedom of young desire. Besson's sharp, compressed prose gets right to the heart of what it means to have to fall in love in secret. Thanks to Ringwald's pitch-perfect translation, this affecting and sexy elegy may well be the best gay love story in contemporary fiction. I dare you to read it without crying."
--Christopher Bollen, author of Orient and The Destroyers "An intense, unforgettable novel, alive with the ache of longing and loss."
--Sarah Waters, bestselling, award-winning author of The Little Stranger and Fingersmith "It has been years since anything moved me as much as Lie With Me. It will become a classic."
--Jonathan Coe, author of Middle England and The Winshaw Legacy "A beautiful, shattering novel about desire and shame, about passionate youth and the regrets of age."
--Olivia Laing, author of Crudo and The Lonely City "A deeply moving depiction of first love, both tender and elegiac."
--John Boyne, author of A Ladder to the Sky and The Heart's Invisible Furies "Devastating and tender; this is the book I wish I'd read when I was 15, and a book I'm glad to have as a companion now."
--Andrew McMillan, award-winning author of Physical
"[A] study in intimacy ... the novel captures the full tragedy of the closet ... Equal parts Andre Aciman and Marguerite Duras."
--Ayten Tartici, The New York Times Book Review

"An elegiac tale of first, hidden love between two teen-age boys who have no chance of a shared future, Lie With Me sold more than a hundred thousand copies in France, where it won several prizes and is being made into a movie. Elle deemed it "the French Brokeback Mountain" ... The book reads like a photograph, faded but composed: the bac, linden trees, a green Simca 1100, Lino Ventura. We can see even if we don't know. Call it a memoir of a memory."
--Lauren Collins, The New Yorker "This Year's Call Me by Your Name Is French: More Meta But Just As Hot ... Lie With Me is the story of a successful (unnamed) French novelist ... who catches a glimpse of what he thinks is a past lover in a hotel. Triggered by the sighting, he traces the story of his secret high-school affair with that lover: It was brief in tenure but formed the mold into which he has since tried to press every other romantic relationship."
--Hillary Kelly, Vulture "One of the best novels you'll read this year was actually published in France in 2017. Translated by the actress and author Molly Ringwald, Lie With Me by Philippe Besson brilliantly reminds readers of the joys and agonies of love."
--Jeffrey Masters, The Advocate "[A] tender, sensuous novel."
--New York Times Book Review, 9 New Books We Recommend This Week "Lie with Me succeeds as a novel because of Besson's graceful writing, beautifully translated by Ringwald. Besson is a gifted stylist, and he infuses Philippe's story with the right notes of sadness and longing. . . . perfectly captures what it's like to be young and in love ... [a] lovely novel."
--Michael Schaub, NPR.org "Want to be hip, cool and on trend? Read Phillippe Besson's story of young first love, Lie With Me, masterfully translated from the French by Molly Ringwald ... good and sad and wonderfully beautiful."
--Ciaran Freeman, America Magazine "French author Philippe Besson's international best seller Lie With Me is now available Stateside thanks to actor, author, and erstwhile Parisian Molly Ringwald's fluid translation. Told in three parts, the slender novel recounts a clandestine romance between two teenage boys in 1984 ... More than 20 years after his last encounter with Thomas, Philippe runs into his former lover's doppelganger, and a chance discovery shatters the gentle reverie of the past. Small ripples can make the fiercest waves."
--Lauren Mechling, Vogue "A devastating read about first love ... The novel is so irresistible, it can't be put down ... Lie With Me is the must-read gay novel of the summer."
--Gary Kramer, Philadelphia Gay News "Introspective and evocative, Lie With Me is an absorbing story about passionate love thwarted by class differences and homophobia. The slim novel takes on a great deal in a short amount of space and establishes Molly Ringwald as a skilled translator."
--Michael Kaler, Lambda Literary "For your friend who can't stop talking about Call Me By Your Name ... Say hi to Philippe Besson's Lie With Me. Originally published in French, Molly Ringwald translated the book for English audiences this year. There's a love affair between two teenage boys in 1984 France and it's pretty much perfect."
--TheSkimm "There's a reason why Lie With Me is often compared to Call Me By Your Name. In this slim French novel, an unnamed author is prompted to revisit his first love affair with a man. All relationships since have paled. And yes, it's translated from French by that Molly Ringwald."
--Elena Nicolaou, Refinery 29, 35 Outstanding LGBTQ+ Books Of 2019 "People call Lie With Me, a 1984 teenage romance novella, the French Brokeback Mountain. A sexy, pure, and radiant story, this book has been republished for US readers, and translated by Molly Ringwald. Yes, that Molly Ringwald! This is a great gift book, a quick plane-read, and honestly, better than Brokeback Mountain. Don't miss it!"
--Fran Tirado, Out.com, 8 Queer Books to Read in April "A French bestseller likened to Call Me By Your Name and Brokeback Mountain, the novel marks the first English translation by the actress and writer Ms. Ringwald, a longtime Francophile."
--Rebecca Makkai, Wall Street Journal, The 10 Books You'll Want to Read This Spring "Molly Ringwald translated this French Call Me By Your Name-esque novel about two teenagers in 1984 Bordeaux as they fall in love in the shadows, leaving one of them to reflect on the relationship many years later."
--OprahMag.com, 30 of the Best LGBTQ Books in 2019 "It's as immediately involving and heart-breaking a tale of gay first love as I can recall... direct and devastating."
--The Bay Area Reporter

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