The literary world is in mourning. Linda Lê, the well-known French novelist of Vietnamese origin, died Monday at the age of 58 after a long illness, according to her publishing house.
Linda Lê was born in Dalat, Vietnam in 1963. Her family moved to Saigon to escape the war in 1969, and two years later, in 1977, she left Vietnam for France, where she was admitted to Hypokhâgne and then to Khâgne at Henri IV after completing her baccalaureate. She lived for a long time near the Sainte-Geneviève library, her second home.
Her first novel, A Tender Vampire (1986), was published when she was 23, but she felt “born into literature” with The Gospels of Crime (1992). Linda Lê received the Prince of Monaco prize in 2019 after receiving the Fénéon Prize, the Prix Wepler, and the Prix Renaudot du livre de Poche. Her works were always haunted by the same haunting themes: duality, inner war, bewitchment, and the struggle between Eros and Thanatos. Some of her other famous novels were also translated and published in Vietnam, such as Overcoming the waves, voices, dead letters, playing with fire again, slander…
Linda Lê had just published “Of no one I was the contemporary” at Stock last February, about the meeting in Moscow in 1923 between Russian poet Ossip Mandelstam who died in deportation to Kolyma and Vietnamese independence militant Ho Chi Minh.