The word L'Annonce has a religious ring to it, the announcement of birth, although the announcement here is a simple man-seeks-woman note in a paper, probably Le Chasseur Français, which the forty-six-year-old peasant farmer Paul from Fridières writes, and to which the thirty-seven-year-old Annette in the Nord replies. There follow a couple of meetings in a halfway, neutral place: Nevers, in the centre of France, where they exchange photos and (tentatively) body fluids.
Again, as in Les Derniers indiens, the language circles constantly, dropping a few pieces of information here and there like a sower sowing, weaves between the past and present casually, adding to the tapestry of time. Annette was the wife of a violent drunken husband, Éric the son, and she wants to begin a new life far from her previous urban background.
Paul has set up a new living area next to his elderly austere uncles, Éric turns out to have hidden rural gifts, and the ready-made family, with Annette working in the nearest supermarket to help them get by, a loving relationship (mercifully without sentimentality) establishing itself. Lafon is my best discovery so far this year.
Links to my Marie-Hélène Lafon posts:
Marie-Hélène Lafon: Le Pays d'en haut : entretiens avec Fabrice Lardreau
Marie-Hélène Lafon: Sur la photo
Marie-Hélène Lafon: Les Derniers indiens
Marie-Hélène Lafon: L'Annonce