24 November 2023


This week, Pierre Michon follows up on The Big Beune, on the shores of desire; an autobiographical account of Treize which puts the spotlight on psychiatric care sits alongside a biography of Kafka by Reiner Stach – the first of three volumes. In a historical essay, Marie Favereau sheds light on the Golden Horde, a component of the Mongol Empire between the 13the and the XVe century. Laura Vazquez, for her part, offers us an epic in verse to embrace the world.

NOVEL. “The Two Beunes”, by Pierre Michon

Pierre Michon dreamed of giving a sequel to The Big Beune (Verdier, 1996).The Little Beune » arises almost three decades after “La Grande”, with which it is published under the title The Two Beunes. And what is striking is a miracle: it immediately manages to revive the almost hallucinated erotic tension that carries the first text.

We are still in the Dordogne of the 1960s, where the 20-year-old narrator was sent to teach. Yvonne, the village tobacconist, always plunges him into a feverish state of bewilderment, which finds an echo in the world around him, riddled with prehistoric caves, crossed by sexual symbols and animal totems.

Read also (2020): Article reserved for our subscribers Pierre Michon: “Whoever writes must not be the same man as the one who talks to you”

The sentences, of an extraordinary density, lovers of semicolons, tempted by the alexandrine, stage a confrontation between animality and “civilization”, which is at the heart of the text as it is at the heart of the narrator’s desire for Yvonne. The last pages bring a form of resolution to what one might call the plot. But this second part is careful not to dissipate all the mysteries and mists that hang over the Beune. R.L.

 “Les Deux Beune”, by Pierre Michon, Verdier, 156 p., €18.50, digital €15.

NARRATIVE. “Charge”, from Thirteen

Finally, chemistry “out of his blood”it is the anger that Treize makes flow in his vein-sentences: Charge is the explosion of sound “inner writing”. Before “psychiatric country”his mind was a “chest of drawers with drawers for everything”, which shattered. The book invents a new system of thought: “I scoop my stories/These sips intoxicate me. » Finally naming things allows him to straighten out words. Arranging them no longer in boxes, but in the panting breath of a word made deed.

Between story, investigation and poetry, she creates with this first book a quivering autobiographical literary essay, written like a bomb of pleasure – the relationship to oneself found. To explore its scope – the viral load – she pours her words into the flowand sometimes the italics of his indomitable sentence. Familiar, precious, raw… she doesn’t choose between styles.

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