“Gloria, Gloria”, by Grégory Le Floch: family caving

“Gloria, Gloria”, by Grégory Le Floch: family caving

On the island of Elba.

“Gloria, Gloria”, by Grégory Le Floch, Christian Bourgois, 212 p., €19, digital €13.

Grégory Le Floch’s first book, In the forest of the hamlet of Hardt (L’Ogre, 2019), unfolded the confession of an unspeakable truth. The following, To travel the world and prowl it (Christian Bourgois, 2020), was working on the task of identifying a funny oval thing, both soft and hard, found on the ground by the narrator. And if the great business of these novels was the impossible definition of their subject? Gloria, Gloria, in turn, is an unidentified narrative object. But the indeterminacy itself is deliciously porous there, gradually flooding all its parts.

Lover of – very – old bodies

Reading the diary of her Italian grandfather, written in the 1950s, the narrator puts in our hands the pages full of sulfur of an ancestor whom she presents as a depraved spirit, in love with – very – old bodies. . He recounts the pleasure taken in caressing these “chunks of gray, grimacing flesh”, “varicose thighs”, “buttocks split by bedsores”. First struck by what is, for her, nothing but a morbid taste, the young woman soon sees her disgust turn into troubled fascination. As she reads, she understands that the man who was a young man at the time was, above all, the “keeper of the old people of Rome”. A distraught worshiper, drinking “to the still flowing waters” old men.

The young woman embarks for the island of Elba, where the insatiable lover would have spent seven months in a cave, without writing a word about it in his diary: an ellipse that she will never cease to elucidate. From a censor, she will therefore be a witness, and even a passer, to fill this gap. Where we thought we were reading a supplementary indictment – ​​chronicles of voluptuousness of an old pervert, indignant memoirs of his granddaughter – a paradoxical tribute unfolds. On the island, the heady scents of lemons and grapes, which rise when it is hot, make up a “unbearable paradise” which seems to represent the slow maceration of overripe bodies.

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Observing the inhabitants of the island, who all also seem to have the privilege of old age, the granddaughter takes up the pen in order to continue the intimate story, which becomes a four-handed romance. Because his approach is tied to that of his ancestor: keeping the diary of a dead person, bringing to incandescence the soul and the body of a being on the point of liquefying, isn’t this the height of love ? For him, it seems, nothing was more urgent, more touching than to thwart death at work by making those crumpled skins exult. The narrator, who is studying the annotated books in the house she rents, has the impression of “get inside her [sa logeuse] », to explore his thought. Of both, she keeps, in a way, the diary of their souls – she will go so far as to dream their dreams.

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