literary exchange with Céline Minard

Céline Minard, at the Cologne Literature Festival (Germany), March 14, 2018.


Repeat. That Richard Gaitet is the best that has happened to literary criticism and that at a time of ad nauseam promotion and a stifling interpersonal relationship, his “Bookmakers” podcast is not only a breath of fresh air but a oasis of intelligence. Because Richard Gaitet really reads – and probably rather twice if not nothing. Because he reads exhaustively a work that he questions. Because what he gets out of it, for our ears which are still amazed at being suddenly treated so well, is up to his interviews: demanding and intense. And, what does not spoil anything, everything is particularly well done (by Charlie Marcelet) and set to music (original, by Samuel Hirsch).

It would have been possible to stop weaving laurels here for the Emperor Gaitet, but his last three episodes are of a density rarely equaled. It must also be said that he went to see one of our authors “the most adventurous of contemporary francophone fiction”according to him: Céline Minard, revealed by critics with The Last World (Denoël, 2007) and author, among others, of Bastard Battle (medieval manga-tinged battle, Léo Scheer, 2008), Almost being shot (Inter book prize, Rivages, 2014) and Plasma (Grand Prix of the imaginary, Rivages, 2022).

“Multiply the types of spaces”

Episode 1. To Inspector Gaitet’s ritual question: what is the word that best corresponds to your work? “Space, maybe spaces because that’s what I’m trying to create (…) Because I try to multiply the kinds of spaces, the tones, the textures, the volumes. It’s the imaginary space, it’s the literary space, it’s the space to live in, and for me, a book, whether you write it or read it, is a place where we live for a while. » Brilliant answer, and everything will be in this vein. Because of his biography and many other things, you will not have his trouble. Especially since, “a writer’s biography is his library”.

child, it is The Little Red Henbecause ” THE Martinait was unbreathable”. The discovery of Francois Villon : “Luckily the school put me in front of this kind of texts. » Then from Arno Schmidt: “Reading it was permission to blow up the world. He has an extremely busy writing, everything is alive, it’s teeming everywhere. » There will be Faulkner, Borges, Duras, Michaux, Elfriede Jelinek. And of course, Don Quixotewhich she reads regularly: “All great texts are those which, although closed and complete, are full of ambiguities and contradictions. (…) I want to read things that are not possible and which are obvious. »

Then it will take “Allow yourself to write. Allow yourself this freedom. Inventing its place”. For a long time (episode 2), she will have written with the Dictionary of the French language of Alain Rey nearby, because, she says, “we enter the historical thickness of a word”. Always by hand because “writing is a gesture”.

To Richard Gaitet who tickles her with this demanding novelist thing, she replies: “I am a popular author. You may not understand a word or two; What is the problem ? We jump. » And admits: “My novels go beyond genres, frame them, reveal them, collide them. They are transgender. What needs to be unbolted is the frame. »

Bookmakers, by Richard Gaitet. To be found on Arte Radio and all the usual listening platforms (3 x 45 min).

Emilie Grangeray

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