23 October 2017

Laurent Mauvignier: Une Légère blessure (2016)

Laurent Mauvignier's Une Légère blessure (lit 'A Slight Wound') is a play, or more specifically a monologue by an unnamed woman in her forties, preparing dinner in the dining room for her parents, her brother and sister-in-law and their three children. As she can't cook she's doing this with the help of a young foreign girl who can't speak French and who is in the kitchen. The woman talks all the time without being understood, and the whole play seems to be a continuous kind of psychoanalysis.

Sex is at the forefront of the monologue, beginning with the narrator's first experience at the age of sixteen with a young boy and the narrator's probable schoolfriend Sandra, with whom the boy has sex with both, of no apparent consequence to either girl.

There follows a series of 'speeches', ostensibly to the cook (who, in the kitchen, is never seen to the audience) but in reality to herself, concerning her inability to have kept up a steady relationship with a man as opposed to her brother with his marriage and children, her lack of usefulness, and finally she comes to a revelation about her father's behaviour to her on one occasion when she was much younger, and I translate:

'My father, his flies open and this almost violet thing in his hand.

'He started to rub this piece of flesh in front of me, this monstrous cock with a blue vein running down it, this idiotic piece of flesh hanging like a lifeless animal or a piece of rubber.'

(Lack of) communication, the sexual abuse of women, family matters, oblique talk deliberately avoiding the real issue, talk as a means of non-communication, this is Laurent Mauvignier, and these are what make him one of the key figures in contemporary French literature. Wonderful.

My other Mauvignier posts:
Laurent Mauvignier: Loin d'eux

Laurent Mauvignier: Ceux d'à côté
Laurent Mauvignier: Seuls
Laurent Mauvignier: Ce que j'appelle oubli
Laurent Mauvignier: Continuer
Laurent Mauvignier: Autour du monde

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