Delhi’s Oxford Bookstore unveils French collection

New Delhi, Oct 5: Francophiles, French expatriates, European travellers and students brushing up French language skills are in for a treat as Oxford Bookstore in Connaught Place in the national capital has dedicated a corner to French books.

The bookstore unveiled the collection Friday in association with the French Embassy. French Ambassador Francois Richier was present at the launch showcasing about 400 French titles, ranging from food and art to films and philosophy.

Apart from popular French existentialist Jean Paul Sartre and Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus, the books also include French translations of works by Indian authors.

Anita Desai’s “The Artist of Disappearance”, Rabindranath Tagore’s “Gitanjali”, Aatish Taseer’s “Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands”, an attempt to understand modern Islam, and Shobha De’s “Starry Nights” are among the works available in French.

“The French take Indian writers very seriously,” Priti Paul, director of the Oxford Bookstore, told IANS.

“There is not much commercial gain we are looking at. It might not be a popular section right away, but it will open a window to another world of literature for people who know the language or are interested in learning it,” she said.

Apart from the regular fiction and non-fiction for adults, there is also a carefully handpicked collection of children’s books, movies and prize winning books.

“It is important to understand social-political shifts taking place in other countries and literature is the best way to understand and learn about history or culture,” Paul said.

“Many would say: ‘Why French? Why give so much space to French writing?’ But possibly because I feel French literature has one of the most developed literatures in history, I felt it should be a part of our store,” she said.

Priti Paul also pointed to corners dedicated to books in Hindi, Urdu and a few regional languages.

IANS