Little Things

Original title: Petites Choses

Author: Coquil, Benoît

Publication Date:

August 2023



Original language and publisher

French | Payot & Rivages

Territories Handled

Netherlands, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

Germany (Berlin VG/Piper, at auction)
Spanish (World) (Seix Barral, at auction)
Italy (Ponte alle Grazie, at auction)
Catalan (Periscopi)


Literary Fiction

Little Things

Original title: Petites Choses

Author: Coquil, Benoît


Brilliant Hispanic born in Brest, is a perfect connoisseur of Latin America, where he drew his inspiration for Little Things which made him see all the colors.  — L’Humanité

Documented and, of course, often psychedelic and hilarious. — Les Inrockuptibles

Between two emanations of copal, Benoît Coquil brilliantly links the beauty of Mazatec mysticism to a considerable discovery of the 20th century. — Lire Magazine littéraire

These little things make a very great novel where everything is almost true.— Femme Actuelle

The life of a mushroom has never been so exciting! — Page des Libraires

With fluid writing, Benoît Coquil embroiders, fills in the holes, recreates the atmospheres and the era, brings to life a forgotten adventure, but which has shaped our world. — Yozone

An adventure novel full of enthusiasm and humor with a cheerful and colorful pen. — Madame Figaro

In a lively and exhilarating style, like a cross between an adventure narrative and a magical tale, Benoît Coquil brings to life the fabulous true story of a mushroom that changed the world.

Mexico, 1950s: In Huautla de Jiménez, a remote village in the misty mountains of the Oaxaca region, a surprising woman of peerless charisma performs strange rituals combining a trance state and chanting. The woman is a shaman healer, María Sabina, who uses Psilocybe mushrooms – the powerful hallucinogens she calls her “holy children” or her “little things” – for the rituals. Driven by insatiable curiosity, the New York banker Gordon Wasson and his wife, Valentina, who share the same fascination for mycology, travel to Oaxaca to meet Sabina and unlock the secrets of the last natural psychotropic plant still unknown to the western world. They have no idea they when they recount their journey in the highly popular weekly, Life magazine, they will start a global craze. Everyone is interested: from the CIA to Paris’s Natural History Museum via the pharmaceutical company Sandoz, the mushroom’s success is enormous.

But in María Sabina’s mountain home, things quickly start getting out of hand. Attracted by the hype around the magic mushroom, crowds find their way to Huautla de Jiménez, which turns into a counter-cultural Mecca and a symbol of the psychedelic trend. It is rumored that María Sabina welcomed John Lennon, Aldous Huxley and Walt Disney, among many others. Soon the rituals’ authenticity has faded and Psilocybe mushrooms have become little more than a psychedelic treat for disenchanted Westerners searching for ecstasy.

María Sabina’s rituals lose their magic. Exposing the ancestral secret of Sabina’s “little things,” an ancestral secret, brought fame and glory to the Wassons while changing the shaman’s life forever.