Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination


Another thought-provoking master class in how we perform life by the award-winning novelist and playwright Yasmina Reza.

"I was bored with my husband," says Anne-Marie, the irrepressible voice of Anne-Marie The Beauty, "but you know, boredom is part of love." Mostly she is speaking here of her more famous friend and colleague, the French actress Giselle Fayolle, in whose shadow she has spent her career. "My life was a near miss," she adds, before explaining that she enunciated well because "I loved to say the words." A very short novel with the power and resonance of a much longer one, Anne-Marie The Beauty is a profound and moving act of remembrance, a clear-eyed assessment of the hard-edged nature of fame, a meditation on aging--and a wonderfully observant and comic exploration of human foibles. In short, another thought-provoking master class in how we perform life by the peerless Yasmina Reza.


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“Aging but indomitable actress Anne-Marie shares her reminiscences as she recuperates from knee surgery in her Paris apartment. She may be telling her story to someone, but exactly who remains a mystery. Perhaps she's speaking to a journalist writing a feature about her recently deceased long-time friend, French actress Giselle Fayolle. Anne-Marie recalls the pivotal events and people in her life, including the phantasmal and formative vision of watching actors as they seemed to walk above the street in her small town in northern France and about creating a photo album for an alter ego named Anne-Marie The Beauty. At 19, Anne-Marie goes to Paris, wins an audition, and is mesmerized by beautiful Giselle, who, at 21, is already destined to become astar, overshadowing Anne-Marie. Celebrated novelist and playwright Reza is interested in more than surface beauty in this tale of friendship, aging, and what gives life meaning. Anne-Marie, who still remembers the names of those hometown players from her youth, endures, sharing her view of life as a great arc in this brief yet richly symbolic, humorous, and poignant tale.”

“This story, a long monologue between the speaker Anne-Marie and her interlocutor, clocks in at well under 100 pages and proves to an American audience that a book doesn’t need to be a tome to have depth and emotional resonance.”

“Alison L. Strayer’s deft translation captures Anne-Marie’s tone, which is no mean feat in a text so abundant with idioms, idiosyncrasies, and poignant comedy... Reza excels in capturing how our lives are so often lived as attempts to become other people: to aspire, to admire, to alter, to better ourselves.”


Playwright and novelist Yasmina Reza's work has been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Her play Art was the first non-English language play to win a Tony Award, Conversations After a Burial, The Unexpected Man, and Life X 3 have all been award-winning critical and commercial successes internationally, and God of Carnage, which also won a Tony Award, was adapted for film by Roman Polanski. A new play, Bella Figura, premiered in Germany in May 2015. Her fiction includes Hammerklavier, Desolation, and Adam Haberberg. Reza lives in Paris.