Thursday, November 5, 2015

Medici Price Nathalie Azoulai: the king is dead, long live the reader – Liberation

With the Medici yesterday awarded to Nathalie Azoulai for Titus did not like Berenice (POL) confirms a significant trend: the awarding of prizes to good books, preferably, and to real writers. We may not like this or that award winning authors, we must recognize that the game of editorial influence, if he still is here or there, did not favor any intruders. The indications reserved for a French novel off titles are not far behind. As the ladies of the Femina, the Medici jurors have made careful selection. The young Turk Hakan gunday a foreign Medicis Prize for still (Galaade editions, Libération of 24 September), a striking fiction about smugglers who strangely resonates today. Nicole Lapierre Medici test for Sauve qui peut life (Threshold), tragic family story, which exerted a strong rejection of pathos and a vibrant reflection of current: “I think that immigrants of yesterday, and my father was one of them, are like those of adventurous modern day today. “ Note the books rewarded this year, French and foreign, very literary even when it is not fiction, a certain openness to the world. It was reported by the juror Bernard Pivot, summarizing, on Twitter, the book of Mathias Énard: “” Compass “, Prix Goncourt 2015: an encyclopedia of Eastern culture in the form of a romance novel. “

Titus did not like Berenice , which begins and ends as a contemporary love story, a sorrow, is a compendium of Western culture through the life of Jean Racine. Nathalie Azoulai, whose previous novel, A senseless ardor (Flammarion), was already devoted to theatrical passion – in this case for Phaedra – , circulates with ease, intelligence and clarity throughout the XVII th century, somewhat in the manner of Pascal Quignard in All the world’s mornings .

The novelist moved to begin to Port Royal. She imagines, extrapolates, features such as a very strong relationship between the young John, so eager to learn and understand everything, and Hamon, the gardener doctor. She follows his hero in Paris, married his fears and impulses, his discovery of the Alexandrian and pleasures, his relationship with Cornelius (the rival), Molière (the elder), Boileau (the friend). But the great man of Racine, it is the king: “He does not see a man act or behave, he sees a nation be formed under the eyes. [...] In this nation, there will be the language. “ Arrive Berenice , the tragedy of love and power (still an adventure located in the East). Between the king and his courtiers, the agreement is perfect, “these agreements that raise deep wounds” . The king is dead, long live the modern reader, attracted by this elegant text, thirsty purity.

Next week, the season ends with the Wepler price, then the Interallié whose finalists are either Grasset or Julliard. Everyone will have been served. Gallimard had two semi-grand prize of the French Academy and an essay Renaudot. Actes Sud, already with the Nobel Svetlana Alexievitch, wins the Goncourt. Stock Femina. Philippe Rey foreign Femina, Flammarion the test Femina, small houses are almost on a par with the great.

Claire Devarrieux


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