A mother’s love and its setbacks, the first collection of articles by a feminist icon, the joyful and meticulous critique of liberalism in a river play… Like every Saturday, our selection of readings in the pocket section.
r “We were fish”, by Nathalie Kuperman
The child is his “small salamander”, his ” little Wolf “, his “little rat”, her “little owl” where “freshwater turtle”. These are the tender nicknames of the peaceful and radiant hours, the complicit moments when mother and daughter merge and cuddle, united by an indestructible love. Sometimes, however, without warning and without reason, the wind turns, and this immense love is charged with electricity like a stormy sky. Of toxicity, of danger. Agathe then becomes “my little pig”, “my overcooked macaroni”. At 11, the child intuitively learned to decipher the omens of these maternal reversals. A sudden tension in her voice, an absence or a harshness in her gaze, and now this beautiful mother with long black hair transforms into a threatening Gorgon. Until the final paragraphs, all the pages ofWe were fish the new and poignant novel by Nathalie Kuperman, are tensed by the dread of seeing this thunderbolt surge, of feeling this evil current circulating between the lines in which the child burns himself. Read more
> Ed. Folio, 288 pages, €7.60.
r “Scandalous Actions and Daily Rebellions”, by Gloria Steinem
A tireless fighter, Gloria Steinem forged her status as a feminist icon on an endless road. Archi famous in the United States – her life has been the subject of a biopic adapted from her autobiography, in which she is played by Julianne Moore –, if she is much less so on this side of the Atlantic, it is that it has not elaborated, in the extension of its militant actions, a written theoretical work. Theories, she was even always rather wary. Outrageous actions and daily rebellions is her first collection of articles, published in the United States in 1983 – and sold half a million copies over the following years – then republished twelve years later, in a version she annotated. Many of the texts in this rather heterogeneous set, but invigorating because infinitely alive and always clear, appeared from the end of the 1960s in the New YorkMagazine, where Gloria Steinem was a columnist, and in the famous Ms., in the creation of which she participated in 1971. There is also the founding article which, from 1963, decided on her future feminist commitment at the same time as it made it known. Read more
> Ed. Points, 624 p., €10.95.
r “Paris fantasy”, by Lydia Flem
“No house without the depth of memories, the consciousness of time deposited, no feeling of being at home without a little dust… How many days to feel at home? Do we have to get away from it to feel the joy of reunion? » Psychoanalyst, writer and photographer, Lydia Flem wonders. From book to book, she has nevertheless often tamed, with precision and grace mixed, the hypnotizing magic of the place, and lets herself be enchanted today by rue Férou, a narrow cobbled Parisian street at 6e arrondissement, between the Luxembourg Gardens and Place Saint-Sulpice. For five years, she explored it with determination and desire, like Georges Perec and the illustrious historians of the Annales all together. Who, first of all, is this Férou who gave his name to the place, before dying there in 1547? About him, we will learn little. But a lot about the other ghosts who constantly haunt the alley, even if the writer had to step into their shoes and suddenly speak in the first person… Because the astonishing work is hybrid, deliciously anecdotal and skilfully historical, biographical, romantic and metaphysical. Read more
> Ed. Points, 624 p., €9.70.
r “Overboard”, by Michel Vinaver
Completely absorbed by his work at Gillette, Michel Vinaver became CEO of the box in 1964, abandoning his pen as a playwright. He will only return to the theater in 1969 with this legendary fable. Overboard brings together sixty characters gravitating in some twenty-five places. Represented in full, it lasts almost seven hours. The play positions Michel Vinaver in a place where he will reign supreme: that of a subtle commentator on social relations, a keen observer of the impacts of liberalism on individuals. In the center stands the hero Passemar. He is the double of the writer: “In many ways, Passemar’s jester character is a self-portrait. The hero, a young novelist, left-hearted, is hired (thanks to a misunderstanding) as an intern in a powerful American multinational manufacturing consumer products. His first play closely follows his entry (his admission…) into the system. Room where one can read a jump out (a rejection…) of the system. ” Read more
> Ed. Babel, 272 pages, €8.70.
r “Summer of Bitter Oranges” by Claire Fuller
At 39, Frances finally feels free to move. Her mother, a real domestic tyrant, has just died, and here she is, as an expert in the architecture of bridges and gardens, sent to a country house to carry out the inventory. The mission, which could seem daunting, becomes a pure fantasy thanks to the presence of Peter and Cara, original tenants of this dazzling but decrepit estate. Frances is bewitched by the charm of this couple, their madness and their lies. She will never forget this summer of 1969 and, fifty years later, from the bottom of her hospital bed, recomposes this magic. The past-present alternation is not a novelist’s coquetry, but an additional tension in this English story that the British Daphne Du Maurier and the American Shirley Jackson would not deny. Both contemporary and timeless, the novel by Claire Fuller – which we had already loved, An English wedding – exudes nostalgia, gothic mystery and sensuality. Read more
> Ed. Paperback, 384 p., €8.20.
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