Asli Erdogan, Christine Angot, Zadie Smith… The selection of paperbacks of the week

FULL POCKETS – The rage of a great author against Turkish power, the courageous story of incest, a collection of short stories from the gifted British… Our selection of the week in the paperback department.

“Requiem for a Lost City” by Asli Erdogan

It is a book to chant. How else to read this text carved in “the core of the soul” of a woman that the Turkish power wanted to gag, annihilate, without ever reaching the last thread that keeps her upright: writing? Imprisoned, released, exiled, again persecuted, then finally acquitted, but still in danger, Asli Erdogan had developed his very particular literary style long before being caught in this infernal cycle of mental torture which crushes so many intellectuals of his country. . His flayed exaltation, his existential acuity, his poetic visions did not wait for the test of repression to express themselves in intimate and political books, sometimes premonitory. Asli Erdogan makes here hear the rocky timbre of a rage coming from the depths of herself, because she does not know how to be silent. Beautiful, the Turkish title translates to “In the silence of life”, and the sound power of the text says a lot about the struggle of opposites that shakes this author today. Read the full review

r Ed. Babel, 8, 20 €

“The Journey to the East”, by Christine Angot

She has courage. A terrible will. Madness, too. Returning again and again – at the risk of repetition – to what ravaged his life, shattered his identity, shattered his illusions. Christine Angot persists once again in naming ” novel “ this third, and undoubtedly final account of his relations with Pierre Angot, brilliant director of the translation service at the Council of Europe, who seduced his mother in Châteauroux, recognized her belatedly, raped her for the first time at 13 years old. ” Novel “ because she digs into it, probes reality so deeply that nothing, paradoxically, seems certain anymore. Angot simultaneously invites us to dive into the horror of raw truth and the unreal vertigo it causes. In A week of vacation (2012), she said with fierce coldness the rapes of the too much admired father. In An impossible love (2015), she explored the relationship with the mother who had seen nothing, and class manipulation, the humiliation that an entire bourgeois and patriarchal society had insincerely subjected them to. In The Journey to the EastPrix Medicis 2021, she seems to want to end an infernal trilogy in peace.

r Ed. I read, 7, 90 €


“Grand Union” by Zadie Smith

Among the twenty short stories, written over the past decade, which make up Greater Union, the first collection of the gifted British Zadie Smith, some are of the same water as her novels – striking in vitality and accuracy, irrigated by a formidable mastery of dialogue. Such the“Sentimental Education”, in which Monica, a 40-year-old mother and mother, watching her children playing in the paddling pool in a London park, recalls her years at university and the few months of life shared with Darryll – while ‘“the two of them made up half of the black community on campus.” Or “One hell of a week”in which we witness in some twenty pages, as if immersed in an incredible and shimmering color chart of pure emotions, the separation without drama of a couple after thirty years of living together — “she would lie down in the grass in the spring, wonder what had just happened, and contemplate her body finally distinct from all the other bodies in this world”. Read the full review

r Ed. Folio, 7, 80 €

“The woman who remains”, by Anne de Rochas

The woman who remains is called Clara. She is a student at the Bauhaus, in the weaving workshop. In 1933, when the Nazis closed this school of art, design and architecture, she chose not to flee Germany. Clara is an imaginary character. Through his eyes, we live the adventure of Bauhauser, those students who dreamed of giving shape to a new world. Graphic designer and textile designer Anne de Rochas has the good idea to set her first novel in the crazy years of the Weimar Republic. We share the life of Clara and her classmates in the white school built in Dessau by the architect Walter Gropius. The decor is faithful to reality. But Anne de Rochas does not content herself with recounting the history of the Bauhaus in detail, from its famous celebrations to its tragic end. Inventing dialogues that ring true, the novelist kneads the authentic facts into a living paste where matters of the heart count as much as artistic battles and political fights. Read the full review

r Ed. Pocket, 9 €

“The door of the journey of no return”, by David Diop

The history of science has probably not given his name the posterity enjoyed by a Buffon, a Jussieu, whose contemporary he was, but it nevertheless retains Michel Adanson (1727-1806) as an exceptional botanist, discoverer in particular of quantity of plants hitherto unknown, during a trip he made to Senegal around 1750. It was in this five-year biographical parenthesis that David Diop, the author of soul brother — winner of the Booker Prize International for the English translation of this work, which received the Goncourt des lycéens in 2018 —, for making Michel Adanson the hero and narrator of this serious and remarkable novel, which can be read like the manuscript , kept secret until his death by the man of science and intended for his daughter, in which he laid down the story of this expedition. The trip was not only scientific. Along the way, the rational young man was gradually introduced to another vision of the world – a new and luminous cosmology for him. Read the full review

r Ed. Points, 7, 90 €

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Asli Erdogan, Christine Angot, Zadie Smith… The selection of paperbacks of the week