19 October 2016

Marie Redonnet: Rose Mélie Rose | Rose Mellie Rose (1987)

Marie Redonnet's Rose Mélie Rose (very oddly, but then very Englishly so what do you expect?) translated as Rose Mellie Rose closes Redonnet's trilogy which begins with Splendid Hôtel (1886) and continues with Forever Valley (1887). 

Post-Beckett, I find it impossible to believe that all Minuit writers (who have by at least one critic been labelled Les enfants du Minuit (after Salmon Rushdie's groundbreaking Midnight's Children) haven't to some extent been influenced by Samuel Beckett.

Redonnet's Rose Mélie Rose is manifestly minimalist, and manifestly (as perhaps most if not all of her works) concerned with decay, although there's hope, and hope which transcends the minimal hope (a few flowering leaves, for example) in Samuel Beckett's work.

Even the title Rose Mélie Rose suggests rebirth, revival, or the beginning of the recycling of life. And names are significant: Rose is the woman who found Mélie in a cave and brought her up, Mélie is the twelve-year-old who goes from L'Ermitage to Oat after Rose's death, to go to Nem's house (where Rose lived and another Rose works) and then meets another Mélie, who speaks of Rose, but which Rose?

Puberty is significant: in Seaside, the loss of virginity is a matter of course, as it is in Rose Mélie Rose, where Mélie just accepts (and even appears to enjoy) the mingling of menstrual and hymenal blood on the passenger seat in the driver's lorry.

But this is obviously abuse, no matter how old Mélie may appear to be, although she doesn't experience it as such. Abuse too is Pim taking Mélie into the women's toilet and serially sexually abusing her, even if she enjoys it. What is the reader expected to understand by Mélie going into the cave where she herself was born, then giving birth to a child (named Rose of course) and leaving her there?

Links to my other Marie Redonnet posts:

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Marie Redonnet: Seaside

Marie Redonnet: Nevermore
Marie Redonnet: Tir & Lir

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