Cities of Paper

Original title: Les villes de papier

Publication Date:

September 2018



Original language and publisher

French | Editions Alto

Territories Handled

Netherlands, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

English (North America) (Coach House)
France (Grasset)
Sweden (Ramus)
Italy (Alter Ego)
Spanish (Spain) (Minúscula)
Germany (btb - Random House Germany)
China (Citic Press)
Croatia (Disput)
South Korea (Gimm-Young Publishers)
Russia (Ivan Limbakh)
Turkey (New Human)
Slovenia (Mladinska Knjiga)
Estonia (Loomingu)


Essay, Literary Fiction

Cities of Paper

Original title: Les villes de papier


A masterpiece! — RDI Matin

Dominique Fortier’s writing is at once sensitive and interesting, moving and spare. — Au fil des pages

Dominique Fortier has a gift for making insightful connections between seemingly distant ideas, creating patterns that, at the end of the novel, leave you with the impression that everything is connected, both logically and supernaturally. — Jean-Marc Vallée

An exquisite fictional imagining of Dickinson’s life. — The Star

In Paper Houses, anecdotes […] are expanded into a chronological series of vignettes featuring truly Dickinsonian details. — Quill & Quire

A sensational exercise in both admiration and wild imagination that transgresses the laws of fictionalized biography. — Les Inrockuptibles

An exquisite fictional imagining of Dickinson’s life — Sue Carter, The Star

Its language is luminous, precise; its structure, ambitious. — Le Devoir

Intellectually and emotionally disarming, Cities of Paper is a vibrant portrait of Emily Dickinson and her circle: a window into the darkness that both inspired and doomed her.

A mythical figure in American literature, “the lady in white,” as she was otherwise known, remains an enigma to this day. There is, however, no ambivalence regarding Emily Dickinson’s status as one of the most important writers of the nineteenth century. Cities of Paper explores Dickinson’s existence from the inside, in a minor key, through the books she loved, her garden, her ghosts.

Inspired by episodes in both Emily’s life and her own, this new novel by Governor General’s Award-winner Dominique Fortier brings to life in crystalline and powerfully evocative prose the places we inhabit – and that in turn inhabit us.

Marketing Information

  • 10,000 copies sold
  • Winner of the Prix Renaudot Essai
  • Shortlisted for the Prix Femina Essai
  • Winner of the Prix des lycéens AIEQ
  • Spanish and French samples available