After the success of “Fief”, David Lopez explores rural France by bicycle in his new book “Vivance”
There is a narrator. We do not know his age, skin color, profession. We surmise, thanks to the clues: a white man, in his early forties, breaking the ban, sensitive to the search for meaning. When his beloved wife left, he stopped working. A man repaints his pavilion with a four-centimeter-wide flat brush. Neighbor Denis regularly visits and looks after it. Denis: petty trading, social fraud, selling weed. French resourcefulness. The narrator continues to repaint his house as if to fulfill the boredom of such similar days. The region is suddenly invaded by water. The brownish liquid rises up to five and thirty meters. During the flood, her cat, Cassius, disappears. The narrator sets off on a bicycle to find him. He crosses landscapes; meets people. He has a few cents in his pocket and discovers the wealth of France.
At one point the narrator stops looking for his cat and buys a tent for his nights. His life for months: bicycle, terraces, shops, tent. The writer describes a contemplative, diverse, surprising rural France. In the city centers, businesses are closing in favor of unattractive sandwich shops. Everything collects, except life. The narrator gets to know Francine and François in particular. The wife falls into her memory lapses; the husband falls to the ground unable to get up. An elderly and fragile couple living in the mountains. Where their son died. The narrator greets, looks, listens and discovers that he is open to soul changes. Vivance is a celebration of movement. As soon as it starts, man is no longer alone. He heals the nostalgia of his lost love with Renata by observing the surrounding reality. Its strength: it has no goal and hides the present.
What happens, far from the big cities? The author fief (Seuil, 2017), sketches of youth in the suburbs, excels in painting stormy atmospheres. In the beginning Vivance, the narrator stopped at Christmas. Old stone house. Shower, upstairs bedroom, meals. The suicidal Noël is depressed and an alcoholic. He speaks in an incoherent manner. The writer David Lopez, born in 1985, processes the material of his writing to the extreme. It is slowly drawn into it, until it loses its meaning. Poetry of encounters, landscapes, existence. We follow the narrator on his bicycle called Sevilla, until the end of his inner journey. He multiplies stops in villages, forests, to charge his batteries. There is no specific destination. The people he meets talk to him about their aborted desires. “A person cannot be completely desperate if he imagines another possible life, somewhere, behind fear. »
Everyone is looking for their cat and sometimes they find it. The novel is built in three parts, “Plain”, “Vallon”, “Mountain”. The narrative frame is reduced to a minimum. History unfolds in many stories. Time is an object. Slowness, immobility, boredom, movement, escape, wandering. The novelist captures the moments. Life beats in breadcrumbs, a little girl, an elderly married couple. David Lopez plays with opacity and confusion with powerful language. A man goes on a bicycle so as not to meet anything. We must not try to understand everything and learn to let the emptiness carry us. The narrator is waiting for the event. This thing that happens and doesn’t happen is called life.