No. 3, Blue Self-Portrait


No. 3, Blue Self-Portrait


Translated by Sophie Lewis

First English edition published 1 June 2017

A French woman haunted by her encounter with an American-German pianist-composer who is obsessed with Arnold Schoenberg's portrait, flies home with her lively sister and a volume of Adorno's letters to Thomas Mann. While the impossible heroine unpicks her social failures the pianist reaches towards a musical self-portrait with all the resonance of Schoenberg's passionate, chilling blue. A novel of angst and high farce, Blue Self-Portrait unfolds among Berlin's cultural institutions but is more truly located in the mid-air flux between contrary impulses to remember and to ignore.

‘An extraordinary profusion of ideas.’ – The Guardian
‘Like an application of the prose style of Thomas Bernhard to a particular female experience more reminiscent of Bridget Jones’ – Times Literary Supplement
‘Were we to note the musical expression with which Blue Self-Portrait is performed, it would be con bravura, or even staccato: unchained, wildly.’ – Amanda DeMarco, BOMB
‘The dense, fine-tuned, ever perfectionist writing in this debut novel reinforces its immediacy, grips the reader to the point of obsession.’ – L’Humanité
‘Devilishly virtuosic.’ Le Figaro littéraire

Shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses 2018
Shortlisted for the Scott Moncrieff Prize 2019

Read an exclusive excerpt in Granta and an interview in Document Journal.

This book is supported by the French Institute (UK) as part of the Burgess programme, and is the recipient of a translation grant by the Centre National du Livre (CNL).

160 pages, paperback, isbn 978-0-9930093-2-7

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