A collection of books for the holidays

We open the fifth chapter of Undercover in the company of David Foenkinos andyou Roman Fox. On the menu of the day: Among others!

Eric Vuillard for “An honorable exit”, ed. South Act, 2022

“How about I give you two?” he asked.

– Two what? “, replied the French minister, taken aback, unable to make the connection between the diplomatic conversation, all in all quite classic, that he was leading about Diên Biên Phu, and this question in a completely absurd turn.

“Two atomic bombs…”, specified the American Secretary of State.


Writer and filmmaker born in Lyon, Éric Vuillard received the Goncourt Prize for L’ordre du jour (2017). His latest book, The War of the Poor, was a finalist for the International Booker Prize. His work has been translated into forty languages.

Stefan Hertmans for “An Ascent”, ed. Gallimard, 2022

Walking through his hometown of Ghent one day in 1979, the narrator comes to a halt in front of a house: visibly abandoned behind a gate adorned with wisteria, this house calls to him. He bought it immediately and went to live there for almost twenty years.

It was only when he left it that he realized that this roof was also that of a Flemish SS man, deeply involved in collaboration with the Third Reich. The intimate place suddenly takes on a dizzying historical dimension: who was this man incarnating evil, who were his pacifist wife and their children? How to tell the story of a home inhabited by abomination, adultery and lies?

Using documents and testimonies, the great Belgian novelist Stefan Hertmans takes us on a fascinating investigation that intertwines the rigor of the facts and the writer’s own imagination.

Examination of a place and a time, portrait of an interior where the echoes of History resonate, An Ascension is also a striking dive into the human soul.


Lucile Poulain’s “BOOKBOX”: “Touching solid ground” by Julia Kerninon – ed. The Iconoclast, 2022

Whether you’re a parent or not, you’ve noticed: the birth of a child changes things a bit… Not to say that it’s a tsunami in people’s lives!

Alicia Keys wonderfully evokes this gasp in the face of the arrival in the world of her first son, and sings “Speechless— in other words, speechless.


In her chorus, she combines two sensations, that of plenitude, but also that of emptiness / in her own words “the poet in her has disappeared”.

This ambivalence that can make you dizzy when you have just brought a child into the world, Julia Kerninon seizes on it in his latest work published by the Iconoclast editions: “Touching solid ground.

The author explores her double motherhood, once the animal reflex is overcome.

We take a huge leap in time thanks to the playwright Corneille, who revisits the play Médée, in 1635. Medea is the most abominable of mothers since the dawn of time, the one who commits the unthinkable: infanticide.

Corneille tries to answer this fascinating question: How can a mother end up killing her own children?


If you really want a change of scenery, you have the option of reading or re-reading the famous “Rosemary’s babythere“, by the American Ira Levin, published in 1967,
a novel that is above all a metaphor for the transition from daughter to mother.

The chronicle of Gorian Delpâture: “The stained glass window in flames” by Alex Pasquier, ed. Neurosée, 2022

It all begins within the walls of the abbey ofAubemont. We are interested in a monk, Dom Maxence. He entered orders seven years earlier and his life is punctuated by work, prayers, bells and passages in front of stained glass windows which are more or less illuminated depending on the time of day. But one fine day, Dom Maxence is summoned by his superior. He received a letter from the outside world. He is called to testify at a trial on an old case. The disappearance of a man in the mountains a Chamonix seven years earlier. Obviously, this event is linked to the entry into the orders of Maxentius. Before he leaves the abbey, his superior will give him back his old possessions including a notebook, a diary that tells what Maxence lived before becoming a monk. And we the readers are going to learn what happened in Chamonix 7 years earlier.


Laetitia Mampaka’s chronicle: “Strong as a hypersensitive” by Charlotte Wils and Maurice Barthélemy, ed. Strong as a hypersensitive” Charlotte Wils and Maurice Barthélemy – Ed. Michel Lafon, 2021


What if sensitivity and strength went hand in hand? This is what I suggest to you discover with “strong as a hypersensitive” by Maurice Barthélemy. Director, screenwriter and actor, you’ve probably seen him in the movie RRr or the Robin Hood piece from roughly Alexandre Dumas “. While he wondered about the personality of his daughter, he went realized that not only was he hypersensitive but that it was also the case of his father, his mother and his daughter: a family story then! He dives so since his birth and traces his life as if to illuminate areas ofshadow, raise awareness his personality traits at the time misunderstood. And in this adventure, It is far from being the only one since he is accompanied by Charlotte Ils, specialized psychotherapist in the support of hypersensitive people.

The chronicle of Michel Dufranne: “There would be the little story” by Elsa Jonquet-Kornberg, ed. Uneducated, 2022

In a café, Armand is waiting for a young woman he does not know. His granddaughter, Hélène, was kicked out of school. Wishing to better understand the teenager and her escapades, Armand remembered the daughter of a man with whom he worked years before: Esther was also a troubled teenager. He hopes meeting her will shed some light on Hélène’s personality. As the conversation progresses, however, we guess that he projects a certain number of fears onto his granddaughter, and that the adolescent awakening to sexuality has something to do with it.
A few weeks later, Armand’s concerns take shape. Hélène disappears from the boarding house where she was placed. Research is organized. The worst envisaged. Soon, this worst will become Armand’s lifelong obsession, where ghosts of his own youth may also lurk.


The surprise chronicle: Alisson Delpierre, with “The little prince”, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, ed. Gallimard, 1999


So I lived alone, with no one to really talk to, until a breakdown in the Sahara desert six years ago. Something was broken in my engine.
And as I had neither mechanic nor passengers with me, I prepared myself to try and pull off a difficult repair all by myself. It was a matter of life or death for me. I barely had water to drink for eight days.
So the first night I fell asleep on the sand a thousand miles from any inhabited land. I was much more isolated than a castaway on a raft in the middle of the ocean.
So you can imagine my surprise, at daybreak, when a funny little voice woke me up. She said: … “Please… draw me a sheep! – Hey! – Draw me a sheep…”

The end chronicle of Thierry Bellefroid, “A cover on the foreshore”, by Olivier Denis, ed L’Harmattan, 2022

The beaches of the Côte d’Opale, the wind, the tides and a successful restaurateur who fights to make excellence the norm. Everything destined Marc to follow the modest path traced by his father. Twenty years later, while the perfectionist has found notoriety in Paris and abroad, a curious legacy will completely change his trajectory and awaken him to others. When you live intensely, you can forget the passage of time, the family and your own quest. We can go astray and take ourselves for another. A story of tenderness and emotion that puts humanism back in the heart of life.


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A collection of books for the holidays