Thursday, November 17, 2016

The “Goncourt des lycéens” in the first novel of the Franco-Rwandan Faye – The Point

Revelation literary of the season, the Franco-Rwanda Gaël Faye was crowned the 29th Goncourt des lycéens ” for “Small Countries” (Grasset), a novel inspired by his childhood telling the daily casualty of a 10 year old boy in Burundi upset by the rise of the conflict between Hutu and Tutsi.

“I am very proud and excited,” responded Gaël Faye, to whom the news was announced by telephone by the president of the jury of high school students, Margaux Count, since the opera of Rennes.

The jury praised “the fluidity, the sensitivity of the words” but also “the themes, including the war in Rwanda, the discovery of identity and the evolution in adult life”.

“Small Country” has been elected in the 1st round of voting, with nine votes before the novel “Continue” by Laurent Mauvignier (Midnight).

Already the winner of the prix du roman Fnac, Gaël Faye receives to 34 years his first prestigious award, which will be given on Thursday evening in Paris by the minister of national Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

The first set of the novel immerses us in a happy time in Burundi. It follows Gabriel to the four hundred blows with his merry band of buddies. It chipe mangoes at the neighbor, it crapote in an old beat-up wagon abandoned. We go from the rowdiness of the French school in the fishing parties on the banks of the nautical club where hippos splash in the waters of the huge lake Tanganyika.

- cracks in heaven -

however, there are cracks in paradise. In the city, under the seeming calm, a “lava venomous, the flow thick in the blood” shed in the massacres following independence between Hutu and Tutsi is “again ready to rise to the surface”.

the euphoria of the presidential election of 1993, the first democratic election in the history of burundian, succeeding the ominous noise of boots, and then the fateful coup that precipitated the country into the abyss. Six months later in neighbouring Rwanda, the genocide carries the tutsi minority.

Gabriel discovers the Tutsi, métis, French… “+Small country+, this is the story of the end of the innocence, the lost paradise”, recently explained to AFP Gaël Faye, also author-composer.

If it is writing since the age of 13 years, the Franco-Rwandan has taken time before to imagine a writer. Despite a package of beginnings of novels in the drawer, it is to the music that he first turned to the twenties, after a stint in an investment fund in London, where he led “a life of red fish”.

“It must take its responsibilities”, with the image of the mother of Gabriel, which will start in Rwanda, left to lose, in search of his relatives massacred with the machete.

- A rhythm of rapper -

“This is a fabulous book, by the words, each sentence is a quotation. The pace of the book is exceptional, one sees that it is a rapper. It seems like a song continued”, says Margaux Earl, 17, who is president of the jury composed of thirteen students representing 56 schools.

Margaux, of the lycée français de Chicago, says having “an inner journey. I thought about how I would have reacted in time of war”. “It is also a travel outside,” she continued, “one has the impression of walking on the earth, we smell the flowers while the context is very hard. This is not depressing, the author does not try to make us cry”.

Gaël Faye has left Bujumbura in 1995 in the paris region, leaving behind him a part of his family and his friends. He now lives in Kigali.

In 2015, the Goncourt of high school students had been assigned to Delphine de Vigan for the “based on a true story” (JC Lattès), also crowned the same year by the Renaudot.

in the last five years, the Goncourt des lycéens is a literary prize whose average sales is the highest with almost 395.000 copies, before the prix Goncourt, which reached an average of 345.000 copies.

Thus, the “Small Country”, which has already been sold over 160.000 copies, continues his beautiful destiny.

17/11/2016 17:31:46 – Rennes, france (AFP) – © 2016 AFP


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