To read in an igloo

Photo: © Colin Rex

You are in an igloo. Outside the open spaces and the winter beauty, inside this feeling of crushing, a leaden silence and solitude - static. After a quick inspection of the walls, the room, your dynamic and moving eye will begin to detail everything, or even describe everything, almost aloud. In this domed cupola, then in turn prison, sometimes even shield, you have no choice: to look in the face, take a look at yourself, and look at yourself again. Once this setting, the context of a live, it remains what is most precious: a night cafe, a palliative care unit, a summer family villa, a slaughterhouse on strike or a house of hosts ... "You who will remain alone against the skin of the walls" (Pierre Reverdy), and you who will grow with them - forever united. - Elisa Palmer

 

NEW MOON Happy night coffee, by David Dufresne, Seuil, 350 pages, (September 2017)

"I was 18 years old, the age when we make fun of what we make: memories, and ghosts; haunting tomorrows, and interior enemies dancing. I discovered Paris by this place, without suspecting for a single moment that it would mark me as much for life, to the point of spending two or three years tracing its history, thirty years later, in search of permanent rediscovered, not the wasted time ; to search this adolescence in perdition to understand the adult and the world become. The New Moon, a rock'n'roll now where, suddenly, everything had to become possible. And above all the impossible: to learn to bifurcate constantly, from one job to another, from a desire to a refusal, from a deliverance to a hope, dirty defeats in banquet rooms. Non-stop."

More than any other, Dufresne, now a French writer and director, had made New Moon his second home, his landmark: the 66 rue Pigalle in Paris in the 9ème. This old cabaret with burlesque shows, and more if affinities, had become the temple of punk-rock. Artists, mafia, exotic dancers and punks rubbed shoulders cheerfully, or almost. Thus, insatiable melodic desires, fast and harsh, against the backdrop of political messages and nihilistic conclusions, accompanied the dark gap of the night. NEW MOON is a biography of a surprisingly rebellious and unconventional place. In what way and how could one find such an exhilarating place to see the Wampas, Manu Chao, Billy Idol, Iggy Pop, the Beastie Boys, the Thugs, the Ramones, the Vizirettes and the Massilia Sound? System? After climbing the twenty steps, past the threshold of the cabaret in Art Deco style, the reality of these 106 m2 closed: the inexorable brutality of an intimate and collective dream. The atmosphere, but especially the carelessness, this look - almost - without rancor, at the time of the AIDS years. Ex-Sphinx, ex-Monico in the 1950 years, this monster of the Parisian night took place and came to stand up, at the best rank. It was destroyed in 2004, and recently replaced by a sign ... bio. Dufresne reveals to us in his pages, in sublime investigator of the time, the unusual temperament of this establishment, which accompanies it still today and of which it has never been too far away.

 

A few days to live, Xavier Bétaucourt and Olivier Perret, Delcourt, 130 pages, (September 2017)

"It was not a wish on my part to come here. It was the only position available. I was afraid everything would be dull. But that's not the case! There's plenty of life here! Ayse, nursing assistant. "

Here is a Franco-Belgian comic that takes place - in all light - within the palliative care unit of Victor Provo Hospital in Roubaix. Created in 1998, these structures are hardly approved by the administration and the medical profession, because "one heals, one does not cure", and that obviously has a price. For weeks, Bétaucourt and Perret, strangers to this environment, have experimented this daily and its limits, discussed with the staff, the sick, and touched this reality, to look at it, intelligent and modest, on patients' last breaths and the - day-to-day - of the service. This report of a new genre, in a sensitive environment, brings us to the very heart of the debate. Does accompanying the dying person and his loved ones have a price? Is the concern to bring comfort and well-being quantifiable? And simply, how much is society willing to pay for the essentials? In these walls, here, it's all about that.

 

A sea of ​​oil, by Pascal Morin, Rouergue, 130 pages, (August 2017)

From the window of her room, upstairs, Danielle was also watching the young woman. She was trying, at this distance, to find in her posture a clue that could have betrayed her. An arm placed across the belly, a hand, palm in the air or palm down. Something to say whether the body had suffered or not, whether the young woman had been ill, properly treated, or whether she had been in perfect health forever. Danielle found her reflex clinician. In the past, nothing escaped him. "

Here is a family routine in the summer, planted in a postcard setting, and disturbed by Prisca, the young woman employed by grandmother Danielle, to help her in the tasks of the house. It's a funny thing to observe this family, in a familiar setting, at all levels, to be transformed into the presence of this new element: not only Danielle, but also her son Pierre-Marie, and finally Arthur, his grand-son. Nobody escapes, in truth. Struck with curiosity, agitated and undeniably destabilized, as much as they are, the entire dynamic of the family will be undermined and disrupted, because Prisca awakens in each of the frustrations and despicable desires. This figure alone will provide the whole family with the material of an excellent thriller. Inside the villa, a palpable and communicating tension settles, within each of them and between them. In the world of neighboring coves, victims of their beauty, and boat rides, opposes an intense closed eight, where cheating is not playing.

 

Castles that burn, Arno Bertina, Vertical, 420 pages, (June 2017)

Pascal Montville, Secretary of State. I go back to my cage before they order it. I close the door almost. To speak has not been calculated. I had to get out of this room and talk to someone. I could have told a Belgian story. I enter my cage. Being out, having spoken, did not change anything in the waiting room. I come back to this room and I feel like I'm eating it again. She takes me back, she spits me out, it's a cat playing with a bird that he does not finish. To prolong the dread. "

For lack of buyer and in a quest for survival - saving their jobs - a large majority of employees occupy their slaughterhouse and go on strike. Always stronger together, they will sequester a secretary of state, initially came to negotiate. Magnificent verbal cacophony, several people speak during the novel, in heterogeneous levels of language and perfectly mastered by the author: worker, secretary, assistant, minister, lieutenant of the GIGN ... All the main lines are masterfully drawn, through authentic speaking. The affair makes a great noise, we talk about it, and the employees are determined to join forces to win the fight. Motivation is never so ardent that when it is collective, the group takes precedence and makes it possible to abort the selfish withdrawal. Closing the door and throwing away the key is no longer an option. In this obvious, employees will imagine another possibility: buy the plant for a symbolic euro and restart the activity alone, without bosses or shareholders. With the onslaught of hope, they decide to organize an unforgettable party, a dream opportunity to continue the fight in the provocative expression of happiness and the beauty of an almost carelessness. A novel of hope and poetry that sublimates the power of the collective and the spirit of revolt.

 

Passages of desire, by Cécile Huguenin, Editions Héloïse d'Ormesson, 215 pages, (June 2017)

"During these crazy hours, I knew that I could never do without the arms that surround and entangle me, with a body against mine, and that death would come to me from this lack."

An unexpected and miraculous work, told by two singular characters, who take word and witness, one after the other, throughout this journey. History shakes up the established order and prejudices of the time, emphasizing the principle of "free disposition of one's body", sexual fulfillment, and especially the right to pleasure at all times of life . Fears are made to be conquered, and thought is free in the things of love and sex, at any age. The image on the small screen of a certain Clara Davidson, whose disappearance is announced in Zanzibar, in the Indian Ocean, precipitates the young Titus, 23 years, in an unparalleled and absolute upheaval. Driven by an instinctive desire, as an animal, he sets off in the footsteps of Clara in the archipelago, an on-site investigation, determined to find the woman who animates her and gives meaning to her life. Through encounters and exchanges, Clara's troubled and romantic existence intersects and is reborn. One learns in particular that she is the widow of a famous dressmaker, and that she owns a guest house very popular with an essentially female clientele. An initiatory journey and assumed carpets in a warm, reassuring and sensual universe.

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