Books

Julien Decoin, Louise Mey, Rose Tremain, Constantin Sigov…

Julien Decoin, Louise Mey, Rose Tremain, Constantin Sigov…

Seven novels, including a thriller and a fantasy, a collection of poetry, a story, two essays… These are brief presentations of eleven significant works in this third week of the year.

Roman. “Thelma”, by Caroline Bouffault

For months Thelma didn’t eat, or barely ate, calculating the potential consequences of each food on her weight. But behind her fragile body, under her pale skin, the teenager hides a strong appetite for life. Such is the paradox at the center of Caroline Bouffault’s first novel, which borrows from the heroine her sardonic energy, her slightly cheeky charm. Thelma recounts the silent struggle between a young girl and “coach”, that voice in her head that bullies her, admonishes her, encourages her to eat less and exert herself more and more, encourages her to use strategies aimed at bypassing the adults’ attempts to help her heal. Poor adults, moreover, whom Thelma’s illness brings face to face, unadorned, with their infirmities and shortcomings. This highly original story of emancipation is the first novel in the all-new Fugue editions. RL

“Thelma”, Caroline Bouffault, Fugue, 256 pp., €20, digital €14.

Novel. “Calm Time, Full Storm”, Julien Decoin

For the first time perhaps, the narrator of Calm weather, full of storms he fully feels what it means to be a father. Protect your child, take care of him better than yourself. Although he never doubted the love he feels for his 5-year-old daughter, an unexpected confinement imposed by a deadly virus forces him to bear sole responsibility for her. The boat they were supposed to use to join their wife and mother is stationary. They are separated indefinitely. Accustomed to taking risks in his professional life, the man would probably not obey the traffic ban if he were alone. He must decide what risks he is capable of forcing the girl to take. In this fourth novel with an undertone of a contemporary fairy tale, Julien Decoin effortlessly questions the almost metaphysical sources of paternal love. Fl. Per

“Calm Time, Full Storm”, Julien Decoin, Seuil, “Fiction & Cie”, 192 pp, €18, digital €13.

trial. “Psy, whore, priest”, Antoine Guénin

From his profession, Antoine Guénin, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, got an intuition about a possible rapprochement between “Three practices of intimate relationship” – from the bed to the confessional, via the couch – practiced by psychotherapists, prostitutes and priests. Because these professionals have this in common that they allow “unload” while avoiding guilt. By comparing many testimonies, the author thus analyzes the skills, the framework of practice and the risks to which they are exposed. “relationship professionals”, all three of whom eventually turn out to be love professionals. But what they also have in common is the different forms of marginalization to which they are exposed through their actions. Of course, the heroic choice of asceticism as well as the sulphurous choice of the price of a part of one’s own sexuality causes misunderstanding, even suspicion. But between these two extremes, patients who turn to a psychiatrist also expect him not to do so “doesn’t really participate in the social game”. And it is not the least of the merits of this essay that it contributes to modifying the ideas we have about these professions and those who, for others, make themselves containers of what society cannot or does not want to accept. So. Be.

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