Mireille Best (4 June 1943 – 16 January 2005) was a French author, known for her works of fiction featuring lesbian characters and themes.
2 Novels and short stories
4 Critical reception
4.3 Book reviews and interviews
6 External links
Mireille Best was born in 1943 at Le Havre and raised by her grandmother, Albertine Best. A sickly child with hearing problems, she attended school infrequently. However, Best was a precocious child, reading Les Misérables at age 5. Despite the concerns of her mother, Best attended high school. There, she met Jocelyne Crampon, her future partner. However, multiple illnesses kept Best away from school long enough to prevent her from graduating. For some time, Best worked in a clothing factory, sewing plastic garments. After an accident with the machinery, Best took another job, at the urging of her mother. She and her partner traveled south, to Fréjus, and Best became a civil servant.
Best developed early-onset Alzheimer’s and died in 2005.
Novels and short stories
Mireille Best’s first publication was a collection of short stories titled Les mots de hasard. It consists of five stories: “L’illusioniste”, “ La femme de pierre”, “Les mots de hasard”, “Le livre de Stéphanie”, and “La lettre”. The first four center around lesbian relationships and indirect criticism of socially instilled lesbophobia. The book won the Ville du Mans Prix de la nouvelle in 1981 and received glowing reviews from Le Monde.
The second book, Le méchant petit jeune homme, was a collection of three short stories. “Des fenêtres pour les oiseaux”, “Le méchant petit jeune homme”, and “La traversée” all repeat the lesbian theme of Best’s first book.
Best’s third book of short stories, Une extrême attention, contains “Psaume à Frédérique”, “L’encontre”, “Le gardien de la chose”, “Une extrême attention”, “Mémoire-écrin”, and “La conversation”. In this collection, she moves away from the lesbian theme, preferring to focus on stories highlighting the difficulty of communication.
Mireille Best’s first full-length novel is titled Hymne aux murènes and centers around the life of Mila, a young adolescent institutionalized for having “wings”. She falls in love with Paule, a junior member of staff. Paule appears to return her affections, but t