Jerome Lefilliatre, the cliffs of Flamanville
Seoul, 333 pp., €20.50.
At a time when we are talking again about the French nuclear program, to which Emmanuel Macron wishes to give a new start, this novel sheds light on a fascinating part of French industrial history: those months of 1974 and 1975 during which the inhabitants of Flamanville torn at the announcement of the possible construction of a power plant on their coast, on the site of a cliff doomed to be destroyed. Environmental arguments against economic revitalization, this debate remains topical and it is told here via colorful characters: the mayor, a simple and pragmatic man who sees above all the advantages of the case for the region; the lonely and penniless chatelaine who first considers ecological disasters, young green teachers, farmers, fishermen, a homeless person whom everyone thinks is crazy and even René Dumont who makes an appearance to challenge the project. Everyone has the example of the factory in La Hague, not far away, which has already divided the local population because it was built on an exceptional site. “Nature lovers spoke of a wild and beautiful place; others, more down to earth, said he was rough and sorry”writes Jérôme Lefilliâtre, senior reporter at Release. A.S.
Sigolene Vinson, the Clam
Le Tripode, 170 pp., 19 €.
A hydropower plant threatens the ecosystem of a lagoon by pouring fresh water into it. The clams are dying and everything sinks with them, nature as well as humans, in a deadly and fantastic in-between that looks like a fairy tale: seagulls talk, a peacock becomes a dog, an old lady predicts the future… Numbed by the moist heaviness of the heat wave that hit the fishing village where she lives, the narrator tries to find out if “it all started with the death of the clams” ; going up the trail, she will come across her last love story, with death made man. In this novel with piquant humour, where the seesaw between oblivion and memory, dream and reality hangs by a thread, Sigolène Vinson writes about the need to believe in order to survive. C. G-P
Anne Senes, Double room
The Noise of the World, 224 pp., 20€.
Paris, today: Stan hasn’t composed anything for weeks. Previously, his piano vibrated in London under the loving gaze of Liv, the mother of his daughter. Obsessed with his memories, he cares little for his new wife. She goes on vacation without him. So much the better, he will also benefit from it. These few days alone, he spends them with Laïvely, the artificial intelligence that sits in the living room. But she is much more: she sighs, whistles and talks. Something to intrigue the narrator who believes he sees in this connected speaker “the reflection of the imperfect soul of my companion? Or was I imagining things that didn’t exist to populate the inner loneliness in which my lover’s death had left me? From one era and from one place to another, the observation is the same: relations are cracking and “threaten to become the fault lines that will engulf us.” C. G-D
Colette Andris, the drinking woman
Prefaces by Nathalie Kuperman and Léonie Pernet, Gallimard “l’Imaginaire”, 168 pp., €9.
Colette Andris (1900-1936), who became a nude dancer (notably at the Folies-Bergère) after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in literature, published this novel in 1929, her first (two others would follow), whose title is a program: Guita est une “drinking woman”. As a teenager, when he is “obvious that she is grey”,Jacques covers her with kisses, touches her, before she understands “that she never wanted this” . “You’re stupid at sixteen, aren’t you? Guita, shortly afterwards, felt obliged to marry Jacques. Besides, he loved her. It was always that, one out of two happy!…» At 22, she is a widow and hangs out in cafes, in Montmartre and elsewhere, them “whose banal hospitality warms the hearts of those who have failed to create happiness under their roof”. One day, she meets Jeanne there, a woman in her fifties, an alcoholic like her: “Listen to me, my little one, I know you well enough to have seen you often, too often. Stop.” Twine, “drunken sylph”, tragic grisette, will not stop. At the question “the death ?”she answers : “I do not care.” T.St.
Matthew Persian, Nothing should ever happen to me again
The Iconoclast, 256 pp., €20.
Mathieu Persan tells the story of his mother’s cancer and death. So heavy, but if you first open the book with circumspection, it is true that you begin to smile quite quickly, at first a little, then almost permanently. Well, that’s pretty much what it looks like because the author spares us no detail. He could also have slipped the patient’s file between the pages. So inevitably, when the facts take the place of the description of the pain, it is a shock but it is precisely from this shock that the laughter is born. A laugh that seems to constantly agitate the protagonists, starting with this mother as pragmatic as she is irrational, who by sacrificing her life to those she loves has offered them infinity and who therefore owes her precisely that. : an immense, torrential laugh, steeped in tears and happiness. N.A.
Françoise-Marie Santucci, In search of lost smells
Grasset, 224 pp., €20.90.
No longer smelling the oleander of the steep paths or the everlasting flower of the Corsican maquis, giving all the wines the same note, each flavor with an onion background… Losing your sense of smell before the Covid, as is the case with Françoise-Marie Santucci, journalist (long at Release ) and author, was a pledge of loneliness and general incomprehension. Suffering from anosmia following a car accident, she decided to investigate this disease, then little known, to better coax it and drive away melancholy. She then became interested in the origin of odors, their journey in the body, sought the words to describe them and the remedies to finally find this “taste” of good and bad things. A lover of perfumes and wines, Françoise-Marie Santucci has tried almost everything to rediscover olfactory pleasures and no longer feel this cruel lack. M.Ott.
Philippe Gross, Philosophy at the risk of prehistory
Preface by Jean Guilaine, Cerf, 208 pp., €18.
Professor of philosophy at the University of Poitiers, Philippe Grosos is now considered, because of works such as From the depths of our caves, as a specialist in prehistory and Paleolithic art – “objects” that he looks at with a slightly different eye from that of regular prehistorians. His new essay attests to this: it is philosophy that is observed, but through the filter of prehistory and the lessons that can be drawn, among other things, from paleo-archaeology. The starting question is a kind of egg of Columbus, which makes you say, yes, it’s true, why didn’t we think of it before: when philosophy was born in Greece, in the fifth century before our era, is it born out of “nothing”? Do we act as if there had been nothing before, as if writing, pottery, agriculture, had not already been invented, as if the cave paintings of the Neolithic era, showing “hunting, gathering or harvesting scenes”, had not already put the man “at the center of representations, and therefore of concerns”, as if had not already appeared “social inequalities, relations of exploitation, class society” – in short, as if all the problems were not already present (the role of the State, justice, inequalities, truth…) for which the philosophy which was born in Greece would try to find solutions? Hence the need, suggests Philippe Grosos, for a “archaeology of philosophy” – where archeology would have neither the meaning given to it by Husserl nor that given to it by Michel Foucault. R.M.
Guillaume Blot, wheel
Prefaces by Pierre Adrian and Philibert Humm, Hoëbeke, 176 pp., €28.
Do you like counter peanuts? The book is made for you ! Photographer, Guillaume Blot is one of those who observe for a moment and let their ears trail before unsheathing the case. One of his favorite places is the local bars, which he has been immortalizing since 2019. The timeless mustache of a manager (like that of Fabrice at the Square Cafe from Brieulles-sur-Bar, you can’t make it up!), or the natural suppleness of Georges (accustomed to Maevain Saint-Mammès), are so many fragments of estaminets – there are 40,000 left in France today – that Guillaume Blot collected by chance or recommendations. A walk, from zinc to plastic terrace, with a benevolent eye, eager for details of kitsch decoration and quickdraws that catch the eye. Sports Bar , corner cafe and others Family bistroserve us their strong coffees or rosé balloons all in local color. A book that will not serve as a coaster. N.D.