Camille Bordas is the author of two previous novels in French, Les treize desserts, which won the Jean-Claude Izzo Prize, and Partie commune. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker. Born in France and raised in Mexico City and Paris, she now lives in Chicago.
How to Behave in a Crowd
With How to Behave in a Crowd, Bordas immerses readers in the interior life of a boy puzzled by adulthood and beginning to realize that the adults around him are just as lost. Isidore Mazal is 11 years old, the youngest of six siblings living in a small French town. He doesn’t quite fit in. Berenice, Aurore, and Leonard are on track to have doctorates by age 24. Jeremie performs with a symphony, and Simone, older than Isidore by 18 months, expects a great career as a novelist — she’s already put Isidore to work on her biography. The only time they leave their rooms is to gather on the old, stained couch and dissect prime-time television dramas in light of Aristotle’s Poetics.
Isidore has never skipped a grade or written a dissertation. But he notices things the others don’t, and asks questions they fear to ask. So when tragedy strikes the Mazal family, Isidore is the only one to recognize how everyone is struggling with their grief, and perhaps the only one who can help them — if he doesn’t run away from home first. Camille Bordas’ appearance is supported by the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in Canada.