[A] wry, unconventional novel about a woman’s desire.
The New Yorker

Quintessential Anne Serre—this restless, prowling novel explores love as a form of greed, and confused need as one shape of bereftness

The Beginners

Fiction by Anne Serre

Translated by Mark Hutchinson

Anna has been living happily for twenty years with loving, sturdy, outgoing Guillaume when she suddenly (truly at first sight) falls in love with Thomas. Intelligent and handsome, but apparently scarred by a terrible early emotional wound, he reminds Anna of Jude the Obscure. Adrift and lovelorn, she tries unsuccessfully to fend off her attraction, torn between the two men. “How strange it is to leave someone you love for someone you love. You cross a footbridge that has no name, that’s not named in any poem. No, nowhere is a name given to this bridge, and that is why Anna found it so difficult to cross.”

Anne Serre offers here, in her third book in English, her most direct novel to date. The Beginners is unpredictable, sensual, exhilarating, oddly moral, perverse, absurd—and unforgettable.

Buy from:

Paperback (published July 6, 2021)

Price US
Trim Size
Page Count



Anne Serre

French writer

[A] wry, unconventional novel about a woman’s desire.
The New Yorker
Hypnotic, enchanting.
Publishers Weekly
Genuinely original—and, often, very quietly so. Seriously weird and seriously excellent…call it the anglerfish of literature.
—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
Serre’s language is tight and fabulist, a slim and sensuous fairy tale that reads like something born from an orgy between Charles Perrault, Shirley Jackson, and Angela Carter.
Full Stop