The Dark Library

By (author): Cyrille Martinez

Translated by: Joseph Patrick Stancil

Libraries are magical places. But what if they’re even more magical than we know?

In Cyrille Martinez’s library, the books are alive: not just their ideas or their stories, but the books themselves. Meet the Angry Young Book, who has strong opinions about who reads what and why. He’s tired of people reading bestsellers, so he places himself on the desks of those who might appreciate him. Meet the Old Historian who mysteriously vanished from the stacks. Meet the Blue Librarian, the Mauve Librarian, the Yellow Librarian, and spend a day with the Red Librarian trying to banish coffee cups and laptops.

Then one day there are no empty desks anywhere in the Great Library. A great horde of student workers has descended, and they will scan every single book in the library: the much-borrowed, the neglected, the popular, the obscure. What will happen to the library then? Will it still be necessary?

The Dark Library is a theoretical fiction, a meditation on what libraries mean in our digital world. Has the act of reading changed? What is a reader? A book? Martinez, a librarian himself, has written a love letter to the urban forest of the dark, wild library, where ideas and stories roam free.


Cyrille Martinez

Cyrille Martinez is a novelist and poet. He lives in Paris, where he is a librarian of French and comparative literature at the Sorbonne. He has published seven books, some of which have been adapted for theatre, and has done a number of readings in France and abroad. The Dark Library is his second book translated into English.


Joseph Patrick Stancil

Joseph Patrick Stancil has studied French and translation at UNC-Chapel Hill and New York University. He currently lives and works in New York City.


“The caustic and often hilarious story of the misadventures of a library, all the concerns and issues facing the professions … The fantastic with a hint of irony of Cyrille Martinez’s writing is reminiscent of Marcel Aymé.” –Livres Hebdo

“A poignant and shrewd commentary on changing readership demands, The Dark Library also shows an appreciation for those readers, and the librarians who serve them, too.” –Booklist

“Over a documentary base that it itself worth reading, he composes a passionate fiction, almost fantastic, showing the defeat of the printed word by the digital.” –L’Humanité

“French writer and librarian Martinez explores the purpose of libraries amid sweeping societal changes in this whimsical novel. … satire with wit and quirky characters. This will delight fans of absurdist fiction.” –Publishers Weekly

“Martinez, a librarian himself, has written a love letter to the urban forest of the dark, wild library, where ideas and stories roam free.” –Malvern Books


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168 Pages
7.5in * 4.75in * 0.5in


October 20, 2020


Coach House Books



Book Subjects:

FICTION / Absurdist




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