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"The French Art of War": the new "Prix Goncourt" waits for you at Dibuka

As you might have read in a previous article, seasonal awards are a distinctive feature of French literature. Apart for (usually) being an enjoyable book, a novel which was awarded the prestigious “Prix Goncourt” is also a must-read in Paris, something you cannot skip if you want to hold your rank in dinners and parties. Nevertheless, Alexis Jenni's “The French Art of War” is everything except a mundane event. A rich, dense novel that reviews the “two decades of uninterrupted war in France” between WWII and the end of the Algerian “events”, it is also a daring book that dares to address one of the greatest challenges French contemporary society faces today: immigration.


In a classical, sometimes lyrical prose, Jenni intermingles adventures from the past and episode from today. The reader travels among the reminiscences of Vicotrien Salagnon, a retired French paratrooper, that go from the great tales of the “résistance” – where young French took arms against the German invader during WWII – to the squalid horror of the Algerian prisons, where those same heroes became invaders and tortured their opponents. Fast-paced and full of adrenaline, these souvenirs are balanced by slower, more contemplative episodes of France's today situation. Worn-out and impoverished, Salagnon has retired in a “banlieue”, a city periphery where migrants from all over the world – and especially from these same places where French used to fight – settle. A deep, emotional reflexion on war, its roots and its consequences inevitably arouse that leaves its reader sore and admiring altogether. “The French Art of War” is highly recommendable, and not only for the pleasure to tell you read the last Goncourt at the next cocktail.


Books - Dibuka

  • DibuKids program

    Programme DibuKlub and DibuKids - February to June

    February - June 2019 Dibuka Francophone Multimedia Library at the Alliance Française of Johannesburg This year will be full of exciting events and activities at Dibuka. With movies twice a month on Wednesdays for adults; and storytime, films or activities twice a month on Saturdays for kids, there… Read more
  • 2018-DibukaFestival-facebook-2

    Dibuka Library Festival

    Not your ordinary book festival! 1 – 29 September 2018 Spring is coming! And with it, the Dibuka Library Festival, a new kind of book festival to celebrate Dibuka's new revamping and its 15th birthday. Dibuka Library Festival will run from the 1st to the 29th of September at the newly revamped… Read more
  • 2018-Dibuka-architecture-image

    Discover the new Dibuka

    The Embassy of France in South Africa, the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and the Alliance Française of Johannesburg are proud to present the newly revamped francophone multimedia library, named after the Setswana word for "books": dibuka. Dibuka is today the biggest francophone multimedia… Read more

Opening Hours

Monday: closed
Tuesday - Wednesday:  
9.30 - 12.30 | 14.00 - 19.30
8.30 - 12.30 | 14.00 - 19.30
9.30 - 12.30 | 14.00 - 18.00
9.30 - 13.30


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Fax. (+27) 11 646 1128

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