The “rentrée littéraire” (3)

Following the 2014 and 2015 posts on the “rentrée littéraire”, here are my first impressions on this year’s issue.

First of all, this year’s books seem to have a better quality, it’s more varied than last year, some stories sound really powerful. I began my readings with Céline Minard‘s “Le grand jeu”, which a friend offered me for my birthday :

Minard

A woman gives up her ordinary existence to plan a self-sufficient life in an ultra-modern retreat in the mountains. But plans may be well planned, reality is never what you expected. In a narrative mixing fantasy elements with more technical facts, Céline Minard drives us exactly where whe wants to, she builts a breathtaking and magnificent walk, pushing away all certainties and exuding some kind of a “poetry of the heights”. My best choice so far, a must-read !

 

The real power of fiction appears to you when you lose your landmarks, when you forget about the surrounding world and dive into the story. That’s what happened to me with “14 Juillet”, by Eric Vuillard (which happens to live and work in Rennes). 14 July is the day when the Bastille fortress in Paris was destroyed in year 1789, establishing the starting-point of what would be the french revolution. 14 July is now a national holiday in France. Stories about these violent times are often fragmented, few names appear, history only holds onto a few characters. In this piece, Eric Vuillard has decided to give the floor to the common people, craftsmen, workmen, housekeepers, cooks, all those people who also made the revolution happen, forgotten by history. This is a powerful evocation, full of lyricism and inspiration, I also warmly recommend this one :

Vuillard

 

Aurélien Gougaud is a young french writer, this is his first novel, and he has things to tell. “Lithium” is the criss-cross story of two young adults making a living in Paris nowadays. First names are never mentionned. It’s just “her” and “him”. One chapter you hear “her” talking, the next chapter is for “him” and so on. Of course in the end they will meet each other, but that’s not the point. Those lives are very raw, it’s quite harsh to live and work in Paris when you’re in your 20’s in year 2016. It’s about relationships and their fragility at this age, it’s about alcohol and drugs, it’s about social networks, it’s about sex, it’s about work, and it offers crude descriptions of those hard lives. A first-shot by Aurélien Gougaud, and this is a good one, in some ways it made me think about Michel Houellebecq, some reflections are soooo houellebecquian.

And this is the book our cat chose, he likes young authors :

Gougaud