Publication date 25 March 2019, paperback, 180x120, 112 pages, ISBN 978-0-9930093-9-6

Publication date 25 March 2019, paperback, 180x120, 112 pages, ISBN 978-0-9930093-9-6


THE GOVERNESSES publication date: March 2019

Anne Serre

Translated by Mark Hutchinson

BEST BOOKS 2018, Publishers' Weekly 

The sensational English debut of a major French writer — written with the elegance of old French fables, the dark sensuality of Djuna Barnes and the subtle comedy of Robert Walser, this warped erotic fairy tale of a novella introduces UK readers to the marvellous Anne Serre.

In a large country house, shut off from the world within a gated garden, three young women responsible for the education of a group of little boys are hanging paper lanterns for a party. Their desires, however, lie elsewhere... Meet The Governesses: wild or drifting about in a sated, melancholy calm; spied upon by Monsieur Austeur, fascinated by the ever more mysterious unfolding of events, like the charms and spells of a midsummer night's dream…

'Prim and racy, seriously weird and seriously excellent. A John Waters sex farce told with the tact and formality of a classic French fairy tale. There’s an energy here that recalls The Virgin Suicides.'
The New York Times

‘Inès, Laura and Éléonor are not exactly Jane Eyre types…. This could be the setup for a neo-pagan farce about the battle between Eros and civilization, but as Serre delves into the three women’s existence, the novel taps into deeper, quieter waters: the Keatsian twinning of joy and melancholy… Serre’s wistful ode to pleasure is as enchanting as its three nymph-like protagonists.’
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

‘Brutal and effervescent, The Governesses is a systems novel, in the guise of a postmodern fairy tale, a twisted take on the battle of the sexes, a Dionysian mystery in sheep’s clothing. This haunting and compulsive read, imbued with an uncanny intensity, in an unforgettable introduction to Anne Serre’s work.’
— Alexandra Kleeman, author of Intimations: Stories

'A sensualist, surrealist romp.'
Kirkus Reviews

‘The story, classical in appearance, soon jolts us out of our sleepy way.’
Le Monde

‘A delightful sabbath.’