Culture

a village and four seasons

Gasoline

by Emmanuel Flesch

Editions Calmann-Lévy, 450 pages, €22.50

“Do you know everyone in the village?” – Almost. You’ll see, it’s easy. » Hiding in the woods, Samuel and Alex are interrupted by the bell tower striking 3 p.m. Emmanuel Flesch’s third novel begins on a Sunday in the fall of 1988. Two young teenagers kill time. Father Berthelot oversees his vines. Mrs Derain “nearly a hundred years old, who never stops aging in the house next door”, watch the leaves fall. And Sandra languishes in this “rotten bled where his family failed two months earlier”.

A countryside disturbed by new inhabitants

At ” country “, traditions endure. Every Sunday, half the village goes to mass. In summer, everyone comes together to celebrate Saint-Jean, which celebrates the harvest, the July 14 ball and the evening at the campsite.

Some fear that this heritage will be distorted with the arrival of a new population, who have come to fill the housing estates built on three hectares of pasture offered to a promoter from Chalon, the large town next door: “Half a dozen completely explosive houses, repeating themselves identically, each with a terrace, a garage, a bay window, a sloping floor, a grassy garden, white shutters. »

The impossibility of becoming oneself

The Catholic families here, who have always voted on the left, come up against newcomers who do not believe in God, campaign for Chirac, and whose body does not serve them as a work tool. Because, “lack of perspective”, the sons become like their fathers masons, truck drivers or construction workers, when the women stay at home. Dreams have no place. The only horizon offered to young people is that of the village.

Emmanuel Flesch’s novel describes this stagnation and this impossibility of becoming oneself where everyone seems to have a predefined status. It depicts with finesse Sylvain, Maude and Audrey, the handful of teenagers who “seem to know each other, hate each other and make up for each other since the dawn of time”. The author, a history and geography teacher at the college, recounts the first emotions that seize the bodies. Of the “strange symptoms” who take Gildas, the least sensitive of the gang, by surprise: “At night it was worse.He could start crying when he heard Goldman on the radio, all alone in his room. »

The parade of the four seasons, which punctuate the novel, ends with the month of September. In the school bus, the hills and the vineyards move away to give way to the city. The new year can begin.

Source : BBN NEWS

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