No. 1, Suite for Barbara Loden


No. 1, Suite for Barbara Loden


Translated by Natasha Leher & Cécile Menon

First English edition published 30 March 2015

First published in France in 2012 to critical and popular acclaim, this is the first book about the remarkable American actress and filmmaker Barbara Loden. Loden’s 1970 film Wanda is a masterpiece of early cinéma vérité, an anti-Bonnie-and-Clyde road movie about a young woman, adrift in rust-belt Pennsylvania in the early 1960s, who embarks on a crime spree with a small-time crook.

How to paint a life, describe a personality? Inspired by the film, a researcher seeks to piece together a portrait of its creator. In her soul-searching homage to the former pin-up girl famously married to Hollywood giant Elia Kazan, the biographer’s evocative powers are put to the test. New insights into Loden’s sketchy biography remain scarce and the words of Marguerite Duras, Georges Perec, Jean-Luc Godard, Sylvia Plath, Kate Chopin, Herman Melville, Samuel Beckett and W.G. Sebald come to the narrator’s rescue. As remembered scenes from Wanda alternate with the droll journal of a flailing research project, personal memories surface, and with them, uncomfortable insights into the inner life of a singular woman who is also, somehow, every woman.

‘Brilliant little book’ – Valeria Luiselli on Twitter
‘A little gem’ – Harper's Magazine
‘Takes both the novel and biography to new and interesting places.’ – Eimear McBride, The Guardian
‘Here, now, is a remarkable new book that does everything...’ – The New Yorker
‘A moving, subtle novel about the need to create’ – Le Monde

Winner of the 2016 Scott Moncrieff Prize for Translation from the French
Shortlisted for The French-American Foundation Translation Prize 2017
Longlisted for The Albertine Prize 2017

Read excerpts in 3:AM Magazine and The Paris Review.

128 pages, paperback, isbn 978-0-9930093-0-3

Free shipping on all UK orders
This book is published in the USA by Dorothy Project with exclusive rights for North America. For this reason, we do not ship the UK edition to the USA.