Then, rising from his chair, he wished her courage, which worked, because coming home that night. Strong because she felt supported—and not just by anyone; she was a woman whose boss understood her. The fact that my wife had spoken personally with the boss incited jealousy, no doubt.
No one had given a name to his dizzy spells, his sudden drops in blood pressure. The family doctor had merely raised his eyebrows the first time he explained the results of the famous blood tests; he barely looked at us over the top of his glasses when he uttered the word platelets.
And of course my wife and I stared at each other, hoping that platelets referred to something not serious, without actually daring to ask the question. We were wary of receiving an explanation for the incongruous appearance of these platelets, or rather their bizarre proliferation, trusting the doctor, imagining that a doctor always knows how to protect his patients, immunizing them against all evil.
And during this first consultation Palabaud had remained noncommittal. He had asked Mehdi to undress, and seeing how attentively he had examined the different areas of his body, how extremely patient he was when he talked to him, his smiling, being overly considerate, my wife and I knew that Mehdi was no longer an ordinary child. I felt a vice tightening in my chest and saw my wife slump in her chair. Before ushering us out, Palabaud wrote a letter for a colleague in a hospital in the city and asked us to make an appointment right away.
Not to worry, he added in the doorway, but we have. The more I ruminated over that not to worry, the more choked with emotion I became. Not to worry was not compatible with right away—the doctor was contradicting himself. Yet I managed to reassure myself. No, nothing was more natural, he just wanted a specialist to take over; his seriousness was comforting. It was a way of thinking ahead. Contrary to what one might assume, my wife and I spoke little that evening. As soon as we pulled into the driveway the garage was still crammed with moving boxes , she rushed into the kitchen to make dinner, sticking her head in the fridge, in the cupboards, almost literally disappearing, absorbing herself in making the salad dressing, running the water full blast while washing the lettuce, clinking bottles when picking up the bottle of oil, letting the jar of mustard fall from the shelf above.
Born in Tunis, Tunisia in , Hubert Haddad is a poet, novelist, art historian, playwright and essayist, with a vast range of works characterized by a marked sense of innovation and diversity. Opium Poppy is the story of an Afghani boy named Alam, a child soldier who has become a stranger to the playfulness and joys of childhood.
The victim of the brutality of adults, he travels the world in search of freedom. The first time, people had started to rattle off all first names starting with A and for some reason they stopped at Alam. To make them happy, he repeated the two syllables. With breathtaking suspense and drama, this surprising novel depicts the senseless tragedy of child soldiers. He was constantly being asked his name. The first time, people had started to rattle off all first names starting with A and for some reason stopped at Alam, maybe because of his look of alarm.
Had they started at Z and made it to Tahmid, perhaps that would sound right to them because of a certain timidity in his expression. That was at the very beginning. The woman across from him had brittle blond hair and a porcelain smile. She was fiddling with her pen over a bluish-gray form filled with empty checkboxes.
When he was in the trainyards, among the dogs he pacified with stolen sugar, it was woof. It could even be the call of the tawny owl in the forests at night. Everyone just wanted him to move his head back and forth acquiescently, like an overburdened donkey. Alam was the name of his brother back home in the mountains.
The blonde woman stood up and pointed to an iron bench. He turned away from her with an obstinate pout, drawing in his elbows to keep her from snatching his anorak. What good was it to give it to him in the first place if they were going to take it back? Everything he owned was in those pockets. At least they could give him his old jacket back. Behind him the woman gave a dismayed laugh. By way of confirmation, she took the stethoscope out of a sliding drawer and put it on. Her earrings clanged against the aluminum.
The child went pale and he complied without too much resistance, as if the instrument of auscultation were a weapon. Completely naked, his knees trembled slightly. He submitted to her examination more apprehensive than a sheep about to be sheared. She glided her finger towards another mark in the hollow of his clavicle and palpated up the neck to where his lobe was half-detached from the ear.
To put the child at ease, the doctor started to talk without expecting any particular response, a sort of improvised chant that the boy listened to with the solemnity of a captive animal. Whole families, orphans, widows, and even criminals. But you have to help us. You need to tell us your stories. You come from a village in the south, in the Kandahar. What happened? Why did you leave? I can only wonder how you could have survived the machine-gunfire.
It looks like it was an execution. Usually they only massacre the men and enlist the kids or abandon them. They were too white, like buffalo bones in the desert. He was surprised that she took such an interest in his old wounds.
Since then, months had passed. A little later, in the literacy class, he would obediently answer to the name they kept calling him. His name, repeated by the stranger at the podium, resounded deep within him and when he nodded his head, it was with a wounded expression. Today, the instructor wrote the date on the blackboard: November 3. Conjugation, the source of all action, gave the verb its power. Without it, nothing really exists. Nothing would fit together.
Je suis, tu es, il est, nous sommes … Why did he have to stumble through. The only purpose children served was to please adults. Kids around him would smile at the teacher, whose affection they wanted, especially the girls—except for the tall one in the front row. It conveyed a joy that her body and posture did not. She had a wise, panther-like, glittering gaze. Her entire family was set ablaze before her very eyes during a surge in the civil war along the borders of her country. She told the story herself—Diwani, the Tutsi who had been seized by the remaining members of the routed Interahamwe militia.
Seized and raped by these hordes with long machetes who had been recruited from among groups of soccer fans. Go on, keep persecuting us with your simple past. The past is never so simple. What happens, happens thousands of times. It was never easy to pick out the executioners, recruiters, smugglers, customs officers, informants, and police. And who can really swear they committed a given act at a given time? Even the little white kids stopped laughing. Troubled, the teacher announced that class was over. White kids from Eastern Europe were top dogs in the dormitories and the cafeteria.
To form a gang you needed at least three who spoke the same language. There were half a dozen white kids who had all suffered through disaster and now were fighting back. They were the prey of wolves with jaws of steel. Yuko, the leader, with lupine eyes and pointed ears, was scarcely fifteen years old and claimed to have killed a young insolent gypsy one night in a train hangar in Belgrade. The others obeyed him like abused puppies. It made him feel as if somebody had punched him in the stomach and made him want to beat the offender to a bloody pulp. He wandered the halls of the center feeling inexorably forsaken.
With no hope for the goodness of men, he would try his best to be the worst. Keeping them under his thumb required constant extortion. Not having papers was sometimes a blessing. He knew his rights. The Geneva Convention prohibited his being expelled from the country. Sometimes it was the little gnats that managed to keep out of the legal cobwebs. Here there were no big shots with switchblades or shotguns, no older sisters who were junkies and always asking for money.
At least he was left in peace. He would escape before anyone dreamed of putting him on trial. In a lonely corner of the park, a leafless tree swayed in the harsh wind. His forehead against the window, he watched two magpies at play, jumping from one branch to the next. Now the sound of light steps drew his gaze closer to the fogged-up window, then away from it and towards a corner of the hallway. She never noticed either men or boys and only walked in her half of the world. He let her go. He wanted to laugh again and had to restrain himself from hitting her.
I hate you! I hate you all, niggers, Arabs, chinks! Rouge district. To her decline in fortune is added a growing solitude. But this absurd trial, in which Africans and Europeans alike compete in stupidity and injustice, awakens in her the strength of both humor and unexpected courage. It is a novel that tells the difficult freedom of an African woman in France. To me, Mali seemed like the land of plenty, even though there, with everyone living cheekby-jowl, it was a lot of work to maintain a feigned fraternity.
I was almost ready to go back. But then the thought of my parents and of the women who had examined every part of my sex to discover any mark of the forbidden act … Suddenly I felt disgust at being a woman. I would be compelled to produce a baby every year, to do the laundry and dishes, to watch over my husband and service his every desire so he would provide for my children. I swallowed my rage.
Pots and pans were piled high atop the sideboard, empty and dry as the seasons of my country. Never had they seemed more useless. For the first time I was losing it. Tears ran down my face. I banged my forehead on the table, unable to control the despair that filled me. It belied the wisdom of Grandma Mah, who had predicted a long life full of happiness for me. I was not happy. How could I be, what with Ahmed crying in the living room and nothing to give him to eat? I jumped when Sali brushed my shoulder.
But now I was at the end of my rope. She had come around the chair and was standing in front of me. I was just having a bad moment. Little good it did. My little girl was lecturing me. She took my hand to her cheek; kneeling before me, she made me touch her eyes, her cheeks, her chin. Joined together silently, we prayed to God to just give us the food—the fucking food promised in the Book. For my part, I no longer believed in that heap of good words.
My daughter preached the opulence of the believer, she predicted a private Nirvana that awaited, a promised land where the nabobs and the poor would be equals, as ordained by the hand of God. Her words made me dizzy.
What about this supposed paradise where everybody was the same? Delusions of the poor. They said that, in that backwater no one had ever seen, a thousand golden palaces awaited the believer, wine flowed freely and rivers of this drink, forbidden on earth, ran beneath his feet and his table overflowed with all the food you could eat. For this Heaven to come I could not have cared less. It was here and now, on earth, that I wanted to eat. We had to be patient, she was saying, our turn would come.
Maybe He was testing my faith. I no longer believed. It was too late. God is Great, right? An hour later, old Uncle Jules folded his lips in a reassuring smile. He had brought rice, fish and other provisions bought at the Sonacotra store. At last my children smiled again, but the charity made me ashamed. On every Malian scalp, it reigned over scorched earth, swaggering, pleased with itself, and it boded no good.
On old Uncle Jules it brought out my hatred of men. He handed me a fifty-euro note. Souleymane Diallo. The old man only smiled, as was his habit. When was I going to be saved? I wanted to ask. Hunger gnawed at me. And it was eating away at my children. The story of my life, a string of adversities in Mali, and now in Paris, had swallowed me whole. Then, with a serious air, he meditated on God-knows-what before turning a baleful eye on me.
His voice trembled as he said that God never held a grudge against any of His creatures. Far from admitting it, however, he began prophesying, like all poor Africans for whom hunger is simply a fact of life. He too evoked the Goddamned paradise where nothing would be lacking. His reward will come soon. What more does He want from me? On his fingers, he counted. Astaghfi rou Allah!
A hundred times Astaghfi rou Allah! Had he ever seen this paradise reserved for the faithful that I was fed up hearing about? To lie was also a sin. To avoid the horrors of Hell, with only the stoned-to-death Satan for a companion, the old man chose to cite Holy Scripture. He was not going to swear by anything of which he was not certain. It was written in the Book that whoever trusted in God would be rewarded.
That was all he knew. I looked the old man in the eyes. Never has a dead man come back to tell us how it is up there. It is possible the dead we bury simply rot away in the ground. I have no way of knowing.
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Neither do I know if everything that is written in the Book is true or not. But you have nothing to lose by believing in God. Keep praying; you never know with Him. Allah is all-powerful. If he wants to reward you today, you will be rewarded without so much as lifting a finger. My children and I have not eaten anything since yesterday. We are so hungry it hurts. So tell me, yes or no: Will He give me food? The old man brushed a thumb over his white beard.
I remind you that you and you alone are calling down His wrath. Honestly, anyone would think you were possessed. Evict the devil from your soul! He placed an index finger on my forehead and warned me to say no more. On the day of Last Judgment, no organ would be spared and every one of them would be called to account. The eye for what it had seen, the ear for what it had heard, the hand for what it had touched, the mind for what it had thought. The feet would also have to answer for where they had tread.
No question about it. He lifted the tail of his booboo, deciding to get as far away as possible from the sinner. In his haste, his babouche caught in the hem of his billowing pants. He tripped. Old Jules drew back, horrified. His hat was covered in dust. Accept it and forget what others say. No man has the ability to judge anyone else. He is the only God. Inch Allah! Hard to say if he was still convinced of my faith in Allah ….
She then spent many years drinking coffee and studying semiotics before setting out to look for a real job, as a doorman, hostess, receptionist, secretary, banker, educational assistant and agent at the National Employment Agency. In the end, she became a free-lance journalist for various magazines and started a blog on the intersection of the Internet, sex and kittens.
The Ladettes, is the story of Ema and her band of girlfriends, of friends, and, if we take a minute to think about it, a novel about how we try to love each other in France at the beginning of the 21st century. Reading this ambitious literary project is a continuous pleasure, an addictive celebration comparable to that of Bridget Jones or something by Fred Vargas. The result is a great French novel. Chapter 1 Burial and Ladettes For the last ten minutes, Ema had been gazing stubbornly up at the arched ceiling of the Church. She hoped that by following the complicated curves of the Gothic arches with her eyes she could avoid crying, but first of all her neck had started to really hurt, and second it was becoming obvious that she was not going to be able to avoid crying.
She had a lump in her throat. The poor boy had completely collapsed. His face, which had always had the virility of a marshmallow, had literally melted. Even Antoine, seated next to Ema, was pale as a shroud. His hands, set on his thighs, were as inert as the rest of his body. He seemed to be straining toward a fixed point, perhaps the immense golden crucifix towering over them. A vague whispering could be heard as everyone waited for the ceremony to begin.
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In fact, Ema had two very specific fears: Option One: laughing uncontrollably, head thrown back in demented sniggering, eyeballs and neck veins protruding, arms flailing about in frantic spasms - the type of conduct that leads directly to the asylum—or, Option Two, much.
Fortunately, for the time being, the coffin was invisible. To preserve her mental health, she had already firmly refused to attend the placing of the body in the coffin. However, as she was a more or less normal human being, its only effect was to horrify her, as she stepped back yards further from the funeral home. Given the circumstances, it was quite incredible that the family had been able to arrange for a religious burial. Ema was wondering about the hypothetical sums of money the Durieux family must have had to put up to get around the interdictions of the Holy Word, when she felt someone pulling on her bra strap.
There was an audible snap. She turned around, furious. Reminds me too much of you sitting in front of me in philosophy class. With a discordant scraping of chairs, everyone stood up,. It was at this moment that Ema understood that Option One was null and void, that she was going straight into the nervous breakdown scenario, and that she was incapable of handling any of this. At the end of the song, the priest motioned for everyone to sit back down.
She was overcome with a feeling of weakness at the same time the lump in her throat ballooned like a tumor. Tears were going to gush forth when, divine miracle, the sound of quick-footed steps saved her from disaster. Fred had stopped in the middle of the central aisle, breathless, dazed. Even at this distance, everyone could see the sweat dripping down his hastily shaved face.
Ema discreetly signaled to him to sit next to her. The jerk had worn his infamous In Utero t-shirt. To understand the absolute bad taste of wearing such a shirt to a funeral, you have to visualize the drawing in question: an angel in anatomical cutaway, with its muscles, veins, intestines and guts visible. Despite this interruption, it only took her about forty seconds to become a sniffling fountain of tears. Gonzo taking her awkwardly by the shoulder only worsened her sobs.
Ema watched herself, helpless faced with her own tears. And the breakdown followed a precise pattern. As soon as the priest or a loved one spoke, she melted into sobs and no longer heard what they were saying, helping her to calm down. Then, as soon as she composed herself, she would hear the eulogies -- and the tears would flow again. She vainly attempted to concentrate on Antoine who was folding and unfolding the prayer program, indifferent to the range of her crying, deaf to the variety of noises she was producing—sniffling, coughing, whining, whimpering, doleful murmuring, strangled cries.
As she left the Church, the storm of her sobs subsided and Ema could breathe again. The sky was grey, as it should be for a Parisian funeral. As for them, no doubt it was written on their faces. From time to time, a sigh could be heard. A foot playing with piles of gravel. And Gonzo made a bad joke about the deathly ambiance. A series of completely embarrassing episodes, power plays among friends, and how a strange idea had sprouted in her ingenious mind.
Simon Liberati was born in Paris in Louisiana, June 29, A metallic blue Buick Electra en route to New Orleans plows into a truck. The actress Jayne Mansfield and her companion Samuel Brody are killed instantly. In this taut and terse novel, Simon Liberati retraces the last hours of the thirty-four-yearold Hollywood movie star and probes the most mysterious corners of her life. He tells of her predilection for pink and the temptations.
With its fascination for decadence, its mingling of eroticism and death, and its contemplation of destruction, this novel exemplifies morbid chic and the modern baroque. The first witness to the accident and its proximate cause was a man named Richard Rambo, driving a Western Star eighteen-wheeler for Johnson Motor Freight Lines. The crash took place one mile from Rigolets Bridge, a tour de force 4, feet long, built in , which would be partly demolished by Hurricane Katrina in In New Orleans toponymy the word rigolet, taken from the French, designates a small stream.
Coming off the Rigolets, the road, narrow for the length of the bridge, widens to four lanes, two rows of traffic and two emergency lanes. As it opens up, it stirs the urge to leap into the void, to punch the accelerator. According to Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a document produced in by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nhtsa , the lane configuration increases the risk of accidents involving heavy vehicles during rush hour or times of reduced visibility.
At the fatal moment, about two thirty a. He shifted into neutral, pressed on the accelerator pedal, then geared down several times to slow his big rig to the speed of a farm tractor without burning out the brakes or putting needless wear on the brake lights. When he pulled up opposite the revolving light, he recognized a fogging truck by its foul-smelling spray.
Rambo, a native of the Everglades, had long put up with such pesticidepropelling vehicles, which the state of Louisiana, following the example of its neighbor Florida, employed to fight the spread of mosquitoes. The chemical offensive had poisoned residents of the swamplands since the war. The Willys Jeep pickup truck, on which a cannon resembling a machine gun was mounted, looked more like a light tank than Department of Health equipment.
Shaking and sputtering, it showed no concern for what it left in its wake. The cfc-ddt aerosol gas, propelled by a breeze from the Gulf of Mexico, invaded the four lanes of highway. You could not see ten feet in front of you. Rambo applied the Jake brake, which made a wheezing sound. According to expert opinion, his speed at the time of impact was between zero and twenty-five mph.
The impact did not seem to affect the big rig. He was preparing to step on the gas to escape the chaos, when the undercarriage began to pitch dangerously, with a clatter of scrap metal and the crash of broken glass. Something was interfering with the rear wheels. The brakes squealed, and Rambo brought the vehicle to a halt in the night.
The insecticide formed a cloud so thick that, in the outside rearview mirror, you could not make out the reflectors on the nose of the trailer. The atmospheric pollution refracted the powerful flashing beacon, bathing the inside of the cab in colorful strobe lights. Outside, the breeze was poisoned by the smell of ddt and volatile organic compounds. As always during the hot season in the Deep South, the air was dripping with humidity, and the stridulations of insects formed a web of sound as suffocating as the gas. They were the only ones not bothered by the attentions being shown them.
Rambo, after stepping down from the footboard, slipped around the front of the enormous tractor-trailer to avoid venturing onto the freeway. He retrieved a crowbar from a compartment in the back of the cab. According to his statement, he thought he had flattened one of the garbage containers that stray dogs push onto the road. Once he had crossed the fifty feet separating him from the back of the vehicle, he stopped, and abandoned all hope of continuing on his way.
The only thing gleaming in the dark was the chrome-plated handle sticking out from a car door flush with the underside of the semi. How had a car gotten wedged beneath his truck? At first he thought he had driven over a wreck abandoned on the side of the road. He leaned down to see.
Fury without forewarning had slammed the pale blue metal—alien, lighter, feminine—into the greasy, filthy regions below the chassis, without regard for the crumpling, ripping, and irreversible damage that contact between the two materials inevitably inflicted on the more fragile one.
It all must have happened at an insane speed, in an absurd, irreversible movement. Panic, amplified by the pesticides--a nightmare floating in an atmosphere that made it hard to breathe--seized the driver. The overall impression at the sight of the bluish hulk compressed under the chassis of the trailer was crushing defeat.
The legal record indicates that Rambo suffered from allergic asthma and that a close relative of his had been run over by the Santa Fe Express. Human flesh abhors certain ordeals, which evoke old wounds and shared suffering. The steam was dissipating into the atmosphere and the bright Mississippi moon peeked through. At the rear of the truck it illuminated the car roof, torn off and pulled up like the lid of a sardine can an image repeated in the papers the next day.
Only at that moment, more than two minutes after the accident, did Rambo realize what had happened. The blue Buick had plowed into him from behind with such momentum that it jammed three-quarters of the way under the chassis of the trailer. The violence of the impact suggested an abnormal force, another heavy vehicle ramming the Buick. But the blue trunk behind the roof was smooth and untroubled as a vacant swimming pool, while behind it Chef Menteur Highway was as calm as it had been before the catastrophe.
The red glow of the fogging truck reappeared in the distance, continuing to blink blindly in a chemical cloud, as if nothing had happened. A car, dropped from the sky; a falling meteor. At that moment, the cannon stopped propelling the insecticide, and lights lit up on the sides of the pickup. Just above the chrome handle was a dark tuftlike patch. Rambo touched it and immediately drew back his hand. Soft yet coarse. Was it seat stuffing? A bit of ponytail? The hair of a doll?
Or of a woman? Rambo, leaning on the metal flank of the truck, had the irrational fear he would burn himself. But everything was cold. Overcoming the aversion that the yellow hair a wig? He moved to the rear and tried to open the trunk, but it was locked. So too, not far from the still-scalding exhaust pipe, was the license plate under his palm, with its numbers and the letters spelling out m i s s i s s i p p i.
The extreme softness of the metal and the support it offered allowed him to catch his breath. He had to force himself to lift his head. Everything was perfect for five feet, up to the hinges of the trunk, then the horror began again. On the rear shattered windshield, the mass of the truck had vertically thrust back the painted sheet-metal roof as if it were the canvas top of a convertible, peeling it open on impact, shearing off the support posts.
He stumbled over a piece of blue metal in the shape of a boomerang, a detachable part of the mudguard that had fallen to the ground. He scraped his palms on loose gravel, dropped to his knees. On all fours, he heard something moving. Not silence any longer, yet not a sign of life or the buzzing of insects. Something was slyly hissing.
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Steam rose from the carcass underneath, the palpitations of a beast brought to heel, cornered in its flight. The soft hissing revealed the hemorrhaging of a severed hose pipe or the draining of a cylinder head. The menacing little noise just before an explosion. The motor gave off the combined stench of gasoline, hot oil, and radiator fluid. The blood of machines.
Dark juice was dripping onto the asphalt under his hands and feet. He backed up a few yards. The young woman is walled up in a cell adjoining the chapel of the castle, where her only opening onto the world is a small barred window. But she was not alone. Instead of the solitude to which she aspired, Esclarmonde. Carole Martinez, born in , was an actress before becoming a schoolteacher. Carole Martinez gives free rein to the poetic power of her imagination in this novel, which offers s readers an experience at once mystical and carnal, on the border between the real and surreal.
She transports us to her extraordinary universe, a dreamy, cruel world filled with fascinating sensuality. I am Esclarmonde, the sacrificed one, the dove, the flesh offered up to God, His portion. I was beautiful, you cannot imagine, as beautiful as a girl of fifteen can be, so beautiful and so delicate that my father, who never grew tired of gazing upon me, could not bring himself to consider ceding me to another.
From my mother I had inherited skin of a rare translucence. Behind my so very pale bluegray eyes and alabaster face there flickered an elusive flame. But the neighboring lords were lying in wait for their prey. I was an only daughter, and I would fetch an excellent dowry. Amid the vigorous sons that God had given my father, amid his comrades in arms and their young squires, I was a bird that sang at all hours.
In the din of hooves and weaponry, I sang what Modesty forbade. Everyone in the country roundabout spoke of that young damsel, that sweet angel kept at Les Murmures, set down upon the cool grass of its high lawn, and people said that if one wished to make his way to the castle, which was perched on the edge of a cliff, all he needed to do was to follow that ever-singing voice, the voice that night alone seemed able to silence. So were we all in that country, all of us girls, so were we all, but my father was beyond a doubt the best sculptor; he had forgotten to speak to me about the defects of my sex, and he had sent away his chaplain, who could never hold his tongue.
Imagine how men must have dreamed about me, that fair maiden, so tender and docile, about the guiding, virginal song, about the fortune attached to my person, about the girl child so beloved by her father! But about my own desire, no one cared a thing. Who had strayed so far from the path of reason that he would question a young woman, were she even a princess, as to her own wishes?
My father, though a soldier, was always gentle with me. He simply opposed, with great obstinacy, any thought of sending me where God required me to go. He refused to let me join a convent, which would have snatched me from him more surely than any marriage. Our world overflowed with horses, dogs, and loud young men, drinking, hunting, and following me out of the corners of their eyes. Of all those whom my father had taken in, he loved one most: Lothaire, the youngest son of the lord of Montfaucon. He feared neither his adversaries nor the demons that people sometimes saw hovering over the fields and the lists and carrying off the souls of the dead, for no one who died in those combats, then forbidden by the Church, had a right to a Christian burial.
Basking in the glow of so many victories, he retuned to where I was.
But to my eyes, his face had kept its chubbiness, and I saw only a willful child, metalclad, trained to kill, always in a coat of mail and on a horse, never dismounting except to chase after peasant girls whenever the urge might strike. Of all the young men, they said,. Never asking leave, never even waiting for a suggestive look, he wielded his yard like a sword-point!
And the ruined girls remained silent to avoid ignominy and to keep from being turned out onto the roads. My time loved virgins. And it was that man, that Lothaire de Montfaucon, who, because he coveted my treasure, dragged me into the courtly game. Attempting to civilize his desire, down on one knee, he would beg me to grant him a kiss. But stories about brave knights in the service of their lady never held any interest for me. But I had ceased to tremble for the young warriors. In those bawdy stories, I understood, the beautiful damsel always succumbed, and the knight won all his battles.
Could there be any doubt of his power? The struggle—oh, how unequal a contest—was lost in advance. The lady had to accept the compliments paid to her, she put the suitor to the test, and, once the obstacles were overcome, she offered herself as a reward to him who had known to be patient and had not contented himself with unlacing his breeches. Such were the tales sung for him, the one true hero of Courtly Love.
They showed the refinement of the violent man, for whom simply taking what he wanted had no doubt become too easy a game. As for myself and that boy, I would never have wanted anything to do with him. I felt disgust at the very thought of someone who could be so ugly on the inside and still act the gracious charmer, and I rejected the idea of changing my condition. And yet, my father had yielded and there we were, Lothaire and I. We had been made to stand together on a beautiful wedding chest, and he took in his broad hand the little trembling hand held out to him: mine.
From then on, we were promised to each other, and my betrothed paid me court in the manner of the time. He loved himself passionately in this role, a new and difficult one for a young man who had never known how to wait. Of course, I was required to follow the rules, to deflect his desire as long as our engagement lasted, to put up valiant resistance. Marriage is no light matter.
There was no choosing, not even for Lothaire, in fact. The mutual consent required by the Church was only that of the two. But my gallant gained much thereby for as the youngest son of his great house, he had but little chance of escaping bachelorhood and the wandering life of a knight-at-arms. His eldest brothers had received their portion but the two youngest were not destined to make names for posterity. So Lothaire remained, bursting with rage and ambition. Our union, therefore, was a godsend. Once he was married, he would become a lord in his turn; his wife, be she ever so frail, docile, and mute, would confer upon him some necessary substance, proper to builders of lineages.
A few places remained to be taken in the Duchy of Burgundy. My womb would project him into the future; he would plow my flesh as was fitting so that his glory could take root in it, so that his descendants would be as numerous as the trees of the forest, handsome boys who would take over from him, carry on his name, safeguard his blood, his memory, his glory down the centuries, without taking into account the dowry and the alliance provided by her who would be given him until death should ensue.
I would be naught but a chaste receptacle, which successive pregnancies would eventually carry off. And even if Lothaire died before me, my widowhood would be no protection. I would be abandoned again to the highest bidder as security for some pact or other. In the minds of the women of my day, Christ was a powerful force. Christ alone could keep men in check and snatch a virgin from them.
To families of the time, it seemed that they were concluding a new, holy alliance by handing over to God a child who would pray for them, whether high up in heaven or inside a convent cell. The power of prayer and its spiritual energy maintained the equilibrium of the world; no one doubted that then. Certain women—nuns, mystics, voluntary recluses—were sometimes able to lead their entourage and thus to achieve a degree of freedom that was otherwise inconceivable, an autonomy to which almost no other woman of my class could aspire. But at what cost? Born in Brussels, Diane Meur has lived in Paris since She is the author of three novels.
In an imaginary ancient civilization, one that somehow seems quite familiar, the scribe Asral is assigned the task of producing a new copy of the laws. Thanks to the ingenuous questions of his guard Ordjeneb, he soon realizes that the sacred language he is transcribing is outdated and that, in order for the new edition to be truly faithful to the spirit of the original, it must be reformulated so it can be understood the way it was four or five centuries before. A creeping sense of doubt begins to take hold.
Who was this Anwar, the mythical lawmaker, almost god-like? These laws that subject public life, private relationships and. Diane Meur has us ponder the larger issues of religion and our political systems via this suspense-filled story swept by jubilantly infectious winds of freedom. He was thirsty, tired, footsore, his feet aching in their sandals. The laces on the left foot had broken and with each step, the sole flopped and dragged. He had been told that if he wanted to find work, he had to go to the Buffalo Gate, in the thick of the market. Yes, but the market here was nearly the size of a city, full of clamor and crowds, with dozens of vendors in each specialty, earthenware and iron pots, carpets and basketry … He had even seen, side by side, one stall with white eggs and another with brown eggs, each merchant ignoring the other, as if dealing in wholly different commodities, their customers neither mingling nor conversing.
A veritable city, a vast, open-air maze that seemed without perimeter nor center, probably because, unbeknownst to him, he had been walking in circles. Not that they were really merchants, they were village-dwellers from the uplands who, with each new moon, would descend upon his village with their wool, their cheeses, their figs and grapes, all finer than what was produced down in the valley.
And the cousin—for they were all related, more or less—would have made his own son stop playing, get up off the ground to serve as his guide. Here, he had no idea how to go about things. People had trouble understanding his mountain dialect, they made him repeat everything, and he had an even harder time making out what was being said to him.
They called many things by different names, or perhaps gave names to things he had never seen. They were not hospitable, no, not one bit. But then he brightened: at the other end of an alley, between two walls of chicken cages, he noticed a less crowded area, without stalls or awnings, the place he had been looking for.
One could move about more easily, circles were forming around street entertainers, friends greeting one another, hand on heart, engaging in endless discussions. It was a place where news was exchanged, where contacts were made: he was sure to find something here. A small crowd was gathering a bit further on, and he went to see what was happening.
As he drew closer, he understood, they were all trying to hear the reedy voice of a wizened old man who was singing, his gnarled arms held away from his body, eyes lifted heavenward. You flee us, O happiness You elude us like the spirit Avanwar … This had to be an ancient song, for the language was akin to the mountain dialects: he could grasp everything, or almost Avanwar? The melody was unfamiliar to him, yet very appealing, sometimes deep and haunting, sometimes swirling into arabesques like the ones on the hilt of a saber.
All seek to grasp you, but you evade our every embrace Happiness, O swamp fire, dancing light, You come as you please, And to those who seek you not. To hold and keep you would take the cunning Avanwar, And the strength and might Avanwar, You flee us, O happiness, but never too far, Fleeing yet faithful as our shadow, Happiness, O happiness, A Blessing Avanwar!
And with a final acrobatic vocalese, the melody came to an end. The singer had closed his eyes, his body had ceased its swaying and now looked terribly frail and weightless, drained of vigor. The porter scratched his damp beard, the others barely moved, only sighing. He too was brimming with emotion and nostalgia, fully at peace and at ease. But no: a tense silence fell over the crowd. The neighbors in question turned toward him dumbfounded, a little girl burst into giggles, swiftly cuffed by a reprimanding mother.
The word spread into the crowd, whence rose a steadily growing murmur. But others were not having any of it, three boys in particular, who got up and called upon the audience to bear witness. Of course, what else? But here, three against one, with this crowd that wished him no good, he felt as sluggish and weak as a fly fallen into poppy syrup. A final blow delivered by a hand wearing a ring, or holding some kind of blunt object, opened a gash in his forehead, blood flowing into his eyes, blinding him.
He heard the clamor, then lost consciousness. When he came to, some time later, he was lying on the ground, bruised and in no hurry to open his bloodincrusted eyes. He raised an eyelid. Can you walk? Everything happened so fast in this place. The crowd had vanished without a trace, the scandal seemingly forgotten, the market nearly over. Nearby, merchants were piling crates onto carts, dismantling their stalls, paying no attention to the two of them. And your husband, what will he say? So, a young widow. And quite pretty, however much one could judge given. Here, they had a knack for pulling the scarf back a little to show their hair if it was pretty, tugging it forward a bit to soften their features, using it to let light and shadow play on their bosoms, covering their mouths to conceal a smile.
At present, the scarf was starting to fall off her shoulder, and he lifted it back. She went down one step, and turned around. Oh, my name. What do they call you back home, what does your mother call you? These Troubled Souls is her sixth novel. They could not be more different. Born in Mboasu, Maxime, an undocumented immigrant, has managed to find a job in banking, but to avoid legal problems, he is working under the identity of Snow, who was born in the North.
Snow is a born schemer: he lives off undocumented immigrants who pay for his services. The two brothers live in unspoken but deep opposition, linked to their birth. Snow is a child born of love; Maxime,. A family legacy for which their mother Thamar is paying a heavy price: although she lives nearby, in the suburbs of the City, she vegetates in dire poverty, deserted by her sons.
But everything is going to change when Maxime is promoted and leaves to head the Mboasu branches of his bank. Maxime was walking quickly, his forehead creased in a preoccupied frown. She was sitting, drunk, in front of a mini-mart. Her skin, caked with grime, was now a strange shade of grey, not recognizably from any human group. Between swallows of cheap wine, she was furiously scratching her head and arms with her dirty fingernails.
He had passed her by as one passes by people like that, without paying much attention. He felt a pang of anguish. That song took him far from there, toward Mboasu, where women often had only religion to make their existence bearable. Then why did the sound of her voice twist his heartstrings like this? This had been going on for seventy-two hours. He crossed the street, went down the stairs near the subway station, and turned right.
His heart was thumping wildly against his ribs. He almost turned back. A sort of instinct kept him from it. He got to the store. He went in, asked the owner if he knew her, if he knew anything about her. The man, busy putting cans of peas on a shelf, gave him a long appraising look before answering that the woman in question was called Thamar, that she came from the Continent, a country called Mboasu, he thought.
Breathing with difficulty, Maxime asked if she came often. When he asked about their hours, the man gave him another suspicious look before retorting that the hours were posted on the door. The waiting time seemed endless. Under his shirt, the young man felt cold sweat trickling down between his shoulder blades. Why had he felt the need to put on this suit? He wore it only to meet his clients, the big accounts he was in charge of. She went into the store, bought some of that bad wine sold in plastic bottles, and sat down in a corner, to the left of the door.
What was he going to say to her? For that matter, how was he even going to approach her? She looked up at him, as if the questions he was wondering about had reached her. And she smiled. He in no way wished to be disrespectful. She told him her name. That of the town where she was born. That of her people. That of her mother. Yes, she had had a mother. It was long ago.
So long ago. They wept. For shame. From secrets to revelations, Roman and Romane forge an unforgettable friendship… pages N 49 5. Barillet, our teacher, always gives us punishments. Who is Thibault? They grow up together like brothers. Until one of them discovers who the real prince is. Thankfully, she can rely on Jeremy! Arthur is convinced that Carabistouille, the dreadful witch, has cast a spell on him, so he decides to look for a good fairy. Eleven stories which sail between humour and adventure.
One evening, during the TV show, three candidates disappear. The twins decide to search them and witness strange shadows moving near the beach. Nine stories to get the spine tingling and keep us laughing. Keep some garlic at hand! But to find his place in school and on soccer team, Adrian will have to prove his worth. But in his music class, nobody cares about football! Literary genres cultivating imagination: fantastic, historical, anticipation. Who does it belong to? But they decide not to rush things, to slowly build their relation and correspond by messages slipped into the cracks of a wall.
Thanks to her uncle, she begins a correspondence with Moodame, a young Thai. Will their burgeoning friendship be stronger than their differences? She convinces her friend Martin to switch parents for one week. But is it such a good idea? A fetish-priest has predicted that soccer stardom is his fate. But to train properly, he needs a real ball, one that is made of leather.
But one day, the younger son of the family, Marius, gets trapped in a snowstorm. In the valley, the lives of his brother and sister are punctuated by the rhythm of the rescue effort. She seeks advice from her secret friend, in the woods of Sans-Pareil… pages N 49 6. The Faceless Virtuoso Christian Grenier Jeanne discovers classical music at a concert given by a mysterious virtuoso. With the help of Pierre, she decides to unmask the enigmatic pianist. By teaching her music, can he seduce her without betraying his secret? Will he manage to find his place among the beggars in a den of thieves?
Will he survive the plague spreading to the capital? But will it be enough to protect him? Trying to find a new kind of freedom, she creates a blog on which she becomes Kmille. Tenteenagecandidatesare sentencedtodeath,andlockedup intheCastleofIf. Onebyone, weekafterweek,theywillbehunted downbykillers. The show is far from over. The other pupils give him a tough time. At night, the fascinating sound of an invisible violin hypnotizes all those who dare listen.
But the plant is now becoming aggressive and terrorizes the inhabitants of the city. Benjamin, 16 years old, is condemned to spend the rest of his life in a penal colony. In Guyana, he discovers the daily life of the penal colony, its violence, but also the solidarity between the convicts.
He takes part in a dangerous escape in the hostile jungle. Little by little, under her eyes, he gets the feeling she is the wind beneath his wings… pages N 49 9. Among them, Mike and Jonas, two twin brothers who grew up separately. Secretly, mysterious scientists scrutinize their every action. At first, writing a small column, her first investigation will be a scoop! To illuminate the unique charm of Venice, the authors adopt different approaches and literary genres, from drama and screenplay to diary. Will he have the courage to stand up in front of his family?
And is he gifted enough to win the famous manga contest? She grows up in Brittany. When an old healer teaches her the secrets of plants, she becomes aware of her gift and has premonitory dreams which will soon lead her to the Caribbean islands. The army of the Shogun recruits new fighters.
- Dernières lumières, derniers plaisirs (Littérature) (French Edition).
- Ground of This Blue Earth.
- Alliance Française Melbourne - Library Catalogue.
- How to be the Perfect Housewife: Entertain in Style.
- Full text of "Harper's magazine".
- Rightsbook Rageot 2012?
Volunteers have to pass the test of the Ryus to become flying knights. Ayato has finally a chance to get to lead the adventurous life he dreams of. His sidekick genie has fallen under the influence of Crowley the dark magus who hides in the Middle Ages where he supervises the construction of a cathedral. What is the magus plotting? Colin, a young sorcerer apprentice, plunges into the mysteries of ancient Egypt.
In a resonant background of war, Marie tames and rears him and they soon become inseparable. They even organize an afternoon at the skating rink. They are in deep trouble. But when they meet a young Dutch surfer, their friendship is put to a test. The excitement rises as Saturday evening approaches- but so does the stress when the boys threaten not to come! The Trip to England Yes! The End of the Year Show Camille and Malika have one goal when they sign up for the school play: become the stars of the show!
A Day at the Sea One day, the always unpredictable Malika asks Camille to spend a day at the sea instead of going to school. Little-Fierce Goes to School The children have misbehaved so their parents invent a terrible punishment: they send them to school! But is the island where they spend their holidays really deserted or inhabited? He fears nothing! Or almost nothing. Little-Fierce and his Family Little-Fierce knows how to pick fights with his friends, pester his cousins and disobey his parents!
Little-Fierce is a Champion Little-Fierce faces frightening adversaries to get the title of all-time champion of the jungle! Egyptian Trouble Laure and her friends have to deal with a robber who steals Egyptian antiquities. The Strange Teacher Laure and her friends investigate: who really is their new, strange teacher? The Abandoned House Laure and her friends believe that a prisoner hides in an uninhabited house. Tanguy would like to become a veterinary. But his mother forbids him to bring any animal at home.
A Vet Among Tigers Invited by her veterinary aunt to assist the animal reserve trainer during the holidays, Olympe gets a chance to discover the feline world. The task is hard and she calls to Tanguy for help when Zhao, the baby white tiger, disappears. Thanks to her, they look after wild animals and discover all the secrets of the zoo. The lion Brutus seems weak and mistreated.
Tanguy and Olympe decide to rescue him, but where can a lion find refuge? Her parents have left her in the care of an aunt who hates sweets. Moreover, her new school bag is ugly! She decides to sell it, praising its magic powers. To prove to them his worth, he clumsily steals a schoolbag in the shoe-repair shop.
But neither his parents nor his brothers acknowledge his deed. Red Card or Sudden Death P. Judenne Charlotte and Jerome look alike. What if they were twins? Investigating their origins, they discover a dark scandal in the world of football. Judenne During her holidays, Justine discovers that the nearby castle shelters a dangerous sect.
She defies its disturbing guru. They seem to come from the future! How should he interpret them? Can he use them to protect his family? When he discovers that the shutters of the woman next door remain closed, he becomes suspicious. The writer leading her workshop wonders: coincidence or manipulation?
Did he run away? Was he kidnapped? Valentine soon discovers that every tenant has something to hide. Who is trying to harm Mister Sartahoui, a quiet and erudite customer of the hotel? Martin and his friend Medhi lead the investigation. At a chic cosmopolitan party, a priceless necklace is stolen. But Martin feels threatened: his friend, the old countess, has died and he has the feeling that someone is spying on him. Who and why? Then a corpse disappears! Should the detective believe in the curse that terrorizes the villagers? In their loot, they discover something that belongs to the worst mob in town.
Will they manage to save their own skin?
But Mathieu refuses to think he is mad. Beware of the deadly gift! Was it an accident, a suicide, or a crime? Once there, he confronts both the embarrassed silence of the high society members, and the ambiguous reactions of the intelligence services. When he writes her a love letter she makes fun of him. Feeling humiliated, all he wants now is revenge.
But when he handles the case of a car crash victim, he gets caught up in a spiral involving gangsters and corrupt politicians. Shocked, the victim withdraws into total silence, while nobody seems able to identify her. Does she hallucinate, is she becoming crazy, or is she manipulated by an invisible, implacable enemy? Who wants her dead? What secret does her friend Laura hide? Could the key to these mysteries be in her novel? He decides to continue the investigation he was leading.
Police Chief Joffre receives strange letters from a woman who prides herself on committing crimes from which she draws inspiration to write detective stories. She forces him to tell her in detail about his investigations. When they find a corpse, they get involved in a turbid water investigation. Jacques Asklund A famous painting by Van Gogh is robbed during a private exhibition.
Thomas, a former detective, takes advantage of being a ghost to masterfully lead the investigation. The knight Ardani and his young servant explore the city and its secrets to unmask him. Cavali Carole takes in little Alice, recently escaped from a kidnapping. But the kidnappers soon find their trace and a breathless chase ensues in the dead of night. EdandHarolddecide todefythewitch anddisappearintotheforest whereshelives. But soon, the game becomes dramatic.
To identify her murderer, she haunts the orphanage she lived in. How far will he go to get it? One day, several tombs are found desecrated… pages 47 2. But he soon wonders about the shameful secret she is determined to keep to herself. A young journalist investigates the literary past of the victims. But they also take the risk of spending more than one winter behind bars. Suddenly, in open country, the dead man starts banging on his coffin. The supervisor of a boarding school is killed.
What could be the motive? The south squad of Marseille investigates. A young woman police inspector and computer specialist hunts down the criminals that infiltrate the cultural and high-tech worlds. Logicielle, the young detective of the French Scientific Police, has her doubts.
Yet the six victims who have already died in front of their troubling machines have only one common point: they were all consulting the same CD-Rom. The murderer can read the music: he always strikes at the th bar! Logicielle must track every wrong note in the machiavellian score played by the music-loving killer. Determined to catch the murderer, Logicielle penetrates the dense world of computer science.
Special size : x mm pages Death on the Net A man is found stabbed in front of his computer in a room locked from the inside. But, at the first port, a hacker comes on board. Soon, he gets an audition for the part of a violent man. It is the perfect opportunity to show he has what it takes. Her mind wanders between dream and reality - and her heart between Shaun and Nathan. During the off-season, the intriguing Paul moves in next door. One day, they go too far. There he meets Abdallah, a young clandestine immigrant, who takes him to his squat and teaches him how to survive on the street.
Where is this mysterious and wellhidden place? What kind of secrets does it keep from the rest of the world? How did Mary end up in jail? But an artistic project brings them together and sparks fly between them. Will they find a way to stir up the fire of passion? As for Holden, a conformist, his bohemian mother embarrasses him. They hire Salim, a young unconventional boy to rap on one of their songs… pages 47 0 Under a Shower of Stars Camille Brissot Victor tells us about his best friend Juliette: the ups and downs as she fights her disease, and the comforting meteor showers they used to watch together.
A friend shows him the Happy Slapping phenomenon. Will he resist the fever of choosing between virtual and real? Could this be the place where love is waiting? How can he expect to reunite the girl of his dreams, left behind in Burgundy? Will their love withstand the test of time and distance?
But he takes everything lightly thanks to a well-developed, very personal sense of derision. Volume 3 to be published in spring The Day It All Started Justine and her friends make the most of their last days of summer vacation before the apocalyptic start of their senior year: swimming, partying and having fun. The boys observe and criticize him.