The Novel of Jeanne and Nathan

Original title: Le roman de Jeanne et Nathan

Publication Date:

August 2023



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

Japan (Hayakawa)


Literary Fiction


  • Prix Transfuge du meilleur premier roman 2023 (winner)
  • Prix Méduse 2023 (longlisted)
  • Prix Stanislas (longlisted)
  • Prix du Cheval Blanc (longlisted)
  • Prix Révélation d'automne 2023 de la SGDL (longlisted)
  • Prix Littéraire du Monde 2023 (longlisted)
  • Prix Renaudot 2023 (longlisted)
  • Prix de Flore 2023 (shortlisted)
  • Prix du premier roman 2023 (longlisted)
  • Prix Castel 2023 (shortlisted)

The Novel of Jeanne and Nathan

Original title: Le roman de Jeanne et Nathan


It takes a lot of talent and know-how to keep you reading with so many changes of pace. The author achieves this, looking almost nothing, and even smiling like a tightrope walker, one could say, as a mischievous distance is present in reading the book, as if we were at the theater. Deliberately, this debut novel rings wonderfully false, just enough to shield the reader from a pathos that is a little too easy: just false enough to be perfectly right, in short.  — Le Monde des livres

Then begins a dance, furious and sublime, between Eros and Thanatos. A vitriolic social drama, The Novel of Jeanne and Nathan is also the painful and poetic lament of a disenchanted generation. — Lire – Le Magazine littéraire

Clément Camar-Mercier signs the most accomplished debut French novel of this rentrée littéraire: The Novel of Jeanne and Nathan. Between drugs, porn and Wagner. It is because they emerge from a fiction with augmented reality that these stoned Héloïse and Abelard that are Jeanne and Nathan will impose themselves in this literary season and beyond. Clément Camar-Mercier wrote the generational novel of these young adults who paid in their flesh for their addiction to porn and drugs, who were confined to despair, who dreamed of independence and a “world after » during this sequence of social withdrawal far from the “necrotic cogs of consumption”; then who fell back into addiction with the idea that “the drug of the future is not the one that will allow us to escape reality, but the one that will succeed in giving us back the desire to live there. — Transfuge

Jeanne is well aware that hundreds of thousands of porn video addicts are getting off on seeing her have rough sex and apparently enjoying it – a pleasure that she resolutely fakes during the hateful filming of the videos. She takes a professional attitude to everything that is demanded of her as an actress and performs of her own volition, though it could be that the cocaine is shielding her from feeling debased by it all.

She does yet known Nathan, who lives in an entirely different world, giving classes on American cinema, working on an improbable PhD, and taking drugs day in day out to block out the futility of his existence. When they finally do meet in a peculiar garden, it is a dazzling moment that suddenly makes life emphatically worth living. A state of being that seems destined to last, provided all the violence of their prior lives does not catch up with them… By turns raw, dreamlike, romantic and tragic, Le Roman de Jeanne et Nathan depicts the full gamut of addictions through which our age distorts its own reality, saturates itself with its own images, projects itself into them and observes itself, imbibing illusions, perceptions, vibrations and sensations as if no satisfaction or enchantment were possible beyond.

Unless the ecstasy of love – the eternally magic potion of Tristan and Isolde – can enchant for good, until the very final act, the heroes of this audaciously lucid debut novel.

Marketing Information

  • English sample available