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Short stories by top French writers















by Harold Cobert, Irène Frain, Christine Orban, Daniel Picouly, Yann Queffélec, Tatiana De Rosnay, Didier Van Cauwelaert;  translated by Anne Trager


Beware! Writers on the loose. Seven of France’s top authors got together to play a collaborative writing game resulting in fifty-two wacky stories. They each wrote an episode, passing it on to the other, and so forth, until all seven had contributed to each story. They set traps, had fun, and used their prowess to continue and conclude each story. The result is this collection of short stories: some are zany, some are clever, some are just plain weird, but all show the incredible creative skill of these seven very fine writers.


It is surrealistic, literally. This kind of collaborative writing–what could be more in line with the times?–dates back to a writing game invented by the French Surrealists in about 1925, called cadavres exquis. The direct translation is delightfully morbid: exquisite (or delicious, if you prefer) corpses. These corpses are not, in fact, not to decaying bodies, but entertaining seven-author stories that showcase true writing skill, mixing the styles, feelings and predilections of each author.

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France's top writers

Seven literary legends (©Julien Magre for Play Bac)

The authors

Tatiana de Rosnay, Didier Van Cauwelaert, Yann Queffélec, Daniel Picouly, Christine Orban, Irène Frain and Harold Cobert are a hard-hitting group of literary giants, which includes two Goncourt prizewinners and one of France’s most-read authors. They have written among them upwards of 175 acclaimed works of literature. Find out more about these seven top French authors.




“Fifty-two sharp-toothed stories with carnivorous intentions and limitless inspiration. You dive into them without ever losing the thread (of the suture). A delicious meal with the lions.”

–Paris Match

“Surprising, seductive stories of literary collaboration.”

–Le Télégramme

“A nose-thumbing at those who think French literature lacks fancy…a successful exercise. It’s very funny.”

–France Info

“Truly fun, dark humor guaranteed.”

–5-star review

  • I am, Indeed blog: “52 of the strangest and most uniquely clever short stories that highlight the authors’ particular talents…Think Salvador Dali or André Breton, and you have a reference point for the delights found within these little tales. And they are perfectly suited when you only have a short time to read and need that quick diversion. Fortunately there are 52 different stories to choose from: each delightful in its own way. The writing is beautiful, the skill each author brings to the forefront in the stories is apparent. The stories develop with an organic feel that is both unique and amazing as a reader to see.”
  • Bless their hearts mom blog: “Anne and her crew at Le French Book always selected the greatest French fiction to translate and this serial is one of them! They’ve divided the books into 13 ebooks- a month’s version at a time. Some stories are funny, others sad, some odd (French humor at it’s best), and others will move you. My favorite was I Spit on Your Grave, a short and fun ghost story, For those who love a puzzle, they also include and chapter with quips and you have to select which author wrote it! No cheating on this, answers are available at their website! This is a quick and fun read, great for killing time when waiting, as the chapters read very quickly!”
  • Goodreads review: “It is obvious that the authors know what they are doing. The stories do come together and are cohesive. They range from crazy to touching and everything in between. I recognized a few of the authors names. If you’re a fan of any of them I can see this being a must read.”
The book

52 Serial Shorts

by Harold Cobert, Irène Frain, Christine Orban, Daniel Picouly, Yann Queffélec, Tatiana De Rosnay, Didier Van Cauwelaert; translated by Anne Trager—published by Le French Book—First published in French (52 cadavres exquis, by Play Bac Paris)—Direct-to-digital translation; ebook exclusive—Published as 13 four-story ebooks.