The Paris Trilogy


A Life in Three Stories
by Schneck, Colombe | Non-fiction; Biography/Memoir
Published 23/05/2024 by Simon & Schuster Ltd in the United Kingdom
Hardback | 240 pages

SKU: '9781398529397 Categories: ,


The Paris Trilogy is celebrated French author Colombe Schneck’s first English language publication, translated by Lauren Elkin and Natasha Lehrer.

Writing in response to Annie Ernaux and in conversation with Elena Ferrante, Colombe Schneck’s three semi-autobiographical takes on a woman’s life form an elegant, powerful exploration of sexuality, bodily autonomy, friendship, loss and renewal.

Colombe is seventeen in 1984 and carefree, busy discovering sex and studying for her baccalauréat. When she becomes pregnant her choice to have an abortion is never in question. Yet suddenly she must grapple with the body that has brought the precarity of her freedom into focus.

Colombe and Héloïse are two little Parisian liberals, friends since the age of eleven. They look alike, have similar upbringings and for years they follow parallel paths: university, love affairs, work, marriage, children, divorce, more love affairs. They are the most enduring witnesses to each other’s lives, until illness betrays them.

Colombe reconnects with Gabriel in her fifties; their relationship is passionate and transformative. As it unfolds, Colombe discovers many things about herself, including a newfound appreciation for swimming, and the euphoria and strength of a body learning when to push and when to let go.

‘This is valuable writing. It has immense vitality. You will encounter a female narrator whose direct and bright-eyed stare at the world, and her self, is without shame or faux modesty. At the same time, it is also a deep study of existence, at various ages and stages in life.’ Deborah Levy

‘The ‘movements’ of The Paris Trilogy thrum with life, sparkle with insight. It was an exhilarating read. I’ve never encountered a more perfect depiction of how the world shrinks when you understand that you’re a ‘girl’, rather than a ‘person’.’ Natasha Brown

‘Seventeen mines a trauma all too common for women and is published at a time when France has just enshrined abortion rights in their constitution. I found it a tale of frank retrospection, a mature woman looking back on her naive self with love and respect. It is immensely readable and still sadly relevant. Give it to every young woman you know.’ Monique Roffey