Grégoire Delacourt's Les Quatre Saisons de l'été is a novel, but also four short stories linked by the same theme: all take place on the 14 July 1999 holiday period, and all at Le Touquet seaside resort (formerly called Paris Plage) in Normandy. And the stories are all named after flowers: 'Pimprenelle' (burnet), 'Eugénie Guinoisseau' (a variety of rose), 'Jacinthe' (hyacinth) and 'Rose'. Francis Cabrel's song 'Hors Saison' (lit. 'Out of Season') is also the sound of all four (summer) seasons here. This is much more of a novel than, say, the wonderful Marie NDiaye's rather disappointing Trois femmes puissantes,* as there are far more interlinks in the stories, far more sightings of the various people involved.
The stories go from youth to age, with 'Pimprenelle' being a tale of fifteen-year-old Louis's love for the thirteen-year-old Victoire being the essential element. Alas, when she has her first period they must part, although she didn't love Louis anyway, and rather made a fool of herself in her attentions to Louis's much older neighbour Gabriel.
The thirty-five-year-old Isabelle of 'Eugénie Guinoisseau' is a loser in the love stakes, although she slightly prolongs the life of an anonymous old man, nicknamed 'Monsieur Rose', whose last uttered word was 'Rose', the name of the elderly woman who was his wife.
'Jacinthe' is a story of successful seduction, of the fifty-five-year-old Monique being reborn as Louise, partner of the reborn Robert.
And 'Rose' brings us back to the septuagenarian couple Rose and Pierre, who observe many of the activities in the other stories in Le Touquet, but who have decided that they shall end their lives by walking into the sea together.
Grégoire Delacourt is more interesting than I at first thought.
*Rosie Carpe, for example, is far superior to Trois femmes puissantes, and don't be misled by anyone suggesting otherwise.
My other Grégoire Delacourt post:
Grégoire Delacourt: La Liste de mes envies | The Wish List