“The Disunited Kingdom”, “The Floating Bridge of Dreams”, “Sontag”… Our ideas for reading


“At the gates of Europe.  History of Ukraine” by Serhii Plokhy, translated from English (United States) by Jacques Dalarun, Gallimard.

Jonathan Coe makes the novel a gathering place, Corinne Atlan translates the books (by Murakami, among others) like a tightrope walker, Gustave Roud surveys the Swiss hills as a metaphysical walker, Benjamin Moser retraces the itinerary of Susan Sontag, philosopher and “nomadic” feminist, Serhii Plokhy tells the story of Ukraine by thwarting Russian mythology… here is our selection of books for this week.

NOVEL. “The Disunited Kingdom” by Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe orchestrated the release of his new novel as a European event: The disunited kingdom appeared simultaneously in Great Britain, France and Italy. Anyone who defines himself as as irreducibly English as he is attached to the continent thus testifies to a way of considering literature as a place of gathering.

Gathering place, this ample, moving and, of coursefull of humor is himself, which places itself at the intersection of the “cycles” composing the work of Coe and brings together, brilliantly, two branches of the writer’s work in which one usually distinguishes political novels from intimate novels. The disunited kingdom is both at the same time. It follows the members of a family, news of which is heard on the occasion of seven national events ranging from Victory on May 8, 1945 to the seventy-fifth anniversary of the latter, including the coronation of Elizabeth II, the wedding of Charles and Diana, her funeral…

Jonathan Coe avoids any boredom by his sense of comedy, of course, but above all by the variety of his construction. Alternate classic passages in the third person and excerpts from diaries or correspondence. The past and the present collide, the narration allows itself leaps into the future. In the same way that he organizes this ballet of eras, Jonathan Coe works on the changes of focal length, offers close-ups to the crowd attending the Queen’s coronation or to the players playing in a football World Cup final, then frames the closer a walk by a lake or a quiet moment spent in a kitchen. It is these moments, basically, that matter the most, he seems to tell us. Those who bring us together. Raphaelle Leyris

NARRATIVE. “The Floating Bridge of Dreams”, by Corinne Atlan

This short text is at the crossroads of the story sketched out from the moments of a life and a reflection on this tightrope walk between two languages ​​that is translation. The Floating Bridge of Dreams retraces Corinne Atlan’s journey towards herself. The title, which takes up that of the last, unfinished chapter of the Tale of Genjia prodigious work written around the year 1000 by a woman from the imperial court, Murasaki Shikibu, reveals the thread that runs through the path of the author and translator Corinne Atlan: standing on a bridge between two worlds, two languages , trying to make intelligible what is hidden behind a silent text for those who do not know the language in which it was written.

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