Frederic Vitoux

Novelist Frederic Vitoux holds a PhD in French literature, and his doctoral thesis, devoted to Louis-Ferdinand Celine, was published by Gallimard in 1973, the same year as his first novel, Cartes Postales (Postcards).
F. Vitoux has contributed to French newspapers and magazines since 1966 : in particular for the Nouvel Observateur. He is the author of numerous novels, including Sérénissisme (1990), winner of the Valery-Larbaud award, Charles & Camille(1992), recipient of the City of Paris Grand Prize for a Novel, and La Comédie de Terracina (1994), winner of the Académie Française Grand Prize for a Novel. His latest novel, Grand Hôtel Nelson, was published in 2010 by Fayard.
 
F. Vitoux is an Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters, and in December 2001, he was elected to the Académie Française.

The novel

We won't be going to the Rosaria Islands

Frederic Vitoux Sofitel Santa Clara Carthagène

Hélène and Robert came down to have dinner in their hotel, seated in the gallery of a former cloister lined with stone arches. In the center of the cloister, spotlights illuminated what appeared to be a dense tropical forest, resplendent with giant palm trees and the more graceful Manila palms, as well as with hibiscus, frangipani and a variety of other plants that they would have been hard-pressed to name. A giant black woman was lounging opulently in a bed of ferns, naked and holding some fruit. They had no trouble identifying her: She was a Fernando Botero bronze. The night was punctuated by the sharp two-toned cries of unseen birds. They soon learned, however, that these were not birds at all, but tiny frogs, only one and a half centimeters long, who buried themselves in the earth during the day and then emerged at night, issuing their loud cries. They were called coquís.   More power to the coquís!…

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The mask and the dinosaur

Frederic Vitoux Sofitel New York

Paying no attention to one another, a man and a woman approached a display case in which a wooden mask from the Kwakiutl Indian tribe, decorated with geometric motifs in ocher, black and white and resembling a bird of prey with a hooked, beak-like nose and two horns perched atop its head, was gathering dust. For eyes, it had two wooden cylinders that seemed to pop out of its face, painted with concentric circles. There weighed upon the mask a sadness like that of a magician who, having lost his powers, now garners nothing but the indifference of a disbelieving public. Yet in the American Museum of Natural History’s room devoted to the Indians of the Pacific Northwest, where few visitors ventured these days given that it was partially closed and largely occupied by scaffolding and tarps, the mask had succeeded in attracting these two people and, even better, it had cast a spell on them. When they leaned in…

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