It's almost five weeks since my last blog post and the withdrawal symptoms have been huge – since starting this blog six years ago I have never been this silent. But then I've had no reason at all to go dry on the blog, and in the last month I've been in Paris and have noted and photographed many things. Posts will come thick and fast now, although first I have to include the posts I hadn't finished from my few weeks in London in August. But I feel I should note a few French books I've read in the last few weeks.
I loved Delphine de Vigan's Les Heures souterraines, and although No et Moi at first appeared to me as a YA (Young Adult) novel, perhaps as a naïve plea for an understanding of the plight of homeless, my initial doubts were soon dispelled.
Unlike Les Heures souterraines, No et Moi only concerns train stations at the beginning and the end, the apparent similarities between the two books just 'mince comme un sandwich SNCF' (pace Renaud). But the two novels have other much deeper themes: alienation, dysfunctional families, and the overwhelming problem of communication.
The thirteen-year-old educationally gifted Lou – her mother deeply, even pathologically, disturbed by the death of Lou's younger brother – makes contact with No, the quintessential outsider who lives on the street. And for the first time ever Lou feels that she is within rather than without a social, indeed existential, circle. But she has a great deal to learn, and the direction of circles is not the most important thing.
Delphine de Vigan: Les heures souterraines
Delphine de Vigan: Jours sans faim