Tuesday, 31 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 21

Résumé of chapter 21 from original in French by Frencheuropean.

The Macands moved into a new hotel. During an inventory, the manager of the previous hotel pointed out the absence of the meat fork. Laurence looked him up and down, stating that it wasn't there when they arrived. Stéphane threw a large denomination bank note at the feet of the manager, who was asking to be reimbursed. Laurence appreciated the grandness of the gesture.

Ron passed the lie detector test with flying colours and Andreotti is more and more convinced of his innocence, but his bosses at ministerial level, begin to apply pressure. So, Andreotti places Ron on remand.

Yannick Noah has recorded a video with the text that Tony has sent to him. Tony is well pleased with the result. Turning towards the camera, the singer says:

"I will stop singing for a moment for this child. This child who is called Madec. This child who has disappeared. Just a moment for him. Because he must be found. Because together we can create miracles. Don't forget: just a moment. For Madec Macand."
But the video is not very successful. On the other hand, an article in a satirical journal, published on the internet, is a resounding success. It is headed:

"When Noah the demagogue thinks he's Columbo"

Laurence is furious with this failure.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 20

Résumé of chapter 20 - original French from Frencheuropean.

Tony calls and tells Laurence they need "a media plan."

The Josserands leave for France with the other two boys. Laurence wonders if she misses Madec and observes:

"For a while, her son's disappearance has occupied a more important place for her than her son himself. She would have wanted to hold him tightly in her arms - which he struggles against somewhat. Mule head. The mother remembered a colouring session. Why did Madec go over all the edges? Laurence had snatched the red crayon and filled a tomato in properly. In spite of the example, Madec still went over the edges. Snatching the book from her son's hands, Laurence had emptied out a box of felt pens and set to colouring all the other vegetables."

Andreotti arrives at the Macands' place. The Murdoch lead has gone nowhere. He will be interrogated again with a psychologist present and with the use of a lie detector. Laurence's blood runs cold when the inspector informs her that one of his friends is dead, having jumped from the top of the cliff and that divers are going to search along the coastline.

The hotel manager requests that the Macands leave the premises by noon the following day.

Madec's uncle wants to create a "buzz," to move the world. Necessary for that: 1 - money, 2 - getting known.

He is going to contact Yannick Noah, through a friend. (Note: Yannick is a former French tennis player, now a singer, who has set up a charity, with his mother, for underprivileged children)

He joins his sister in Italy and before the journalists, he declares: "I am spokesman for the Macand family."

Laurence can hardly believe her luck when she learns that all the divers have brought back is the body of Simone Cazzi.

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 19

Résumé of chapter 19 - Original French by Frencheuropean.

Laurence is astonished to see the photo of Murdoch, who looks more like George Clooney than like a paedophile. Anyway, she considers that as he was found guilty of the worst crimes, he could pay twice.

She turns on the tears and exclaims:

"What's awful, inspector, is that he saved his life before."

A week has gone by and the investigation has become a murder case. Forensic analysis to do with Murdoch turns up nothing. Andreotti is not convinced of his guilt.

The media gathers in front of the chalet. The Macands pretend to ignore them. The magazine VSD offers 15,000 Euros for an interview. Laurence is flattered by the offer.

"She estimates that if they wait for more the bids will get higher. She comes to a standstill. Would haggling like this play on her conscience? It's all for Madec. For the happiness of his brothers and his family: for the possibility of living without him.

Obsessed by his past and by the weight of the recent suspicions, Murdoch thinks about committing suicide by throwing himself of the top of a cliff, but another man beats him to it and throws himself off first. That puts Murdoch off.

Friday, 27 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapters 16,17 and 18

Résumés of chapters 16,17 and 18 - from the original French by Frencheuropean.

Chapter 16

Still single at age 46, Paulo Andreotti lives, as is the custom, with his mother. He is happy with his life and commits a lot of time to his investigations.

It's strange that, if the child was abducted, he didn't make any noise and wake his brothers. No trace of chloroform was detected by the forensic police. What were the cucumbers doing in the entrance hall when they should have been found in the child's bedroom or in the kitchen? Unless it was the child who placed them there before going outside where he was kidnapped?

He is going to re-interrogate everyone, check up on criminal records and alibis.

He feels some affection for Laurence, who reminds him of a former conquest.

He thinks of his best friend, Simone Cazzi, who never had a chance in life: beaten by his parents; born on a February 29th (a present every four years) and who, just when he was happy, having customised the car of his dreams, saw that car crushed in just a few seconds by a bin lorry. He hasn't fared very well since.

Chapter 17

Laurence, who has not eaten in four days, pushes away the image of Madec's body that surfaces from time to time, repeating to herself, "
I didn't kill him," On reflection, she concludes that "what's missing for the case to advance is a guilty party."

Her blood runs cold when Andreotti comes to inform them that the maritime brigade is exploring the coasts, searching for a body. She imagines the return to Granville in shame and sadness.

Andreotti also announces that the press is about to arrive to interview them and advises them to be wary.

Laurence, who flatly refused to begin with, looking offended, is quite happy however when Andreotti makes the remark that the press may be able to help in the search. She then pretends to be resigned to it: "
in that case, of course..."

That evening, she fears the worst when the inspector knocks on the door. He brings them a photo, that of a suspect.

Chapter 18

Ron Murdoch thinks of his past. A teacher in an English school in Italy, he had been sentenced to 16 years in prison in England for interfering with young pupils. He had pleaded guilty, regretting that the death sentence didn't exist. On leaving prison, he found a job in a bar in Leicester. He fled to London because a 20 year-old barman, Magnus, had fallen in love with him and he had sworn never again to associate with young adolescents. Magnus, however, found him and they set up home together.

To please him, Ron, who had just had an inheritance from his mother, offered to take him on holiday. Magnus chose Italy, in a quiet holiday village. Ron hesitated and then agreed. However, shortly before the departure, he takes on to tell Magnus everything about his past. Magnus, knowing everything, reproaches him for having, with that confession, raised a wall between them and he leaves.

Ron leaves for Italy by himself. At the swimming pool, he goes to the rescue of a child who is drowning. Later, he goes to spend two days visiting the monuments of Florence.

On his return, he is visited by the police and the inspector informs him, in a quiet voice, that he is the prime suspect in the abduction of a little boy: Madec Macand.

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 15

Résumé of chapter 15 - from original French by Frencheuropean.

Two days have gone by. Searches have turned up nothing: no one saw anything.

German Shepherd dogs were deployed on the ground, to the great consternation of Laurence, but since it had rained, they found no traces. They couldn't search the chalet, which Laurence had surreptitiously locked from the inside. She had scrubbed the floor and the skirting boards in the kitchen with bleach again.

The Josserands were only told the day after the disappearance. Sylviane and Laurence agree, with some regret, that a holiday is now out of the question. Sylviane suggests taking the boys back. Laurence reckons that the boys are a handicap for her. When they are around, she has to be strong, but when she is strong, she cannot cry. For the media, she has to be able to cry: "truth shines through the tears." And then, with their departure, the Josserands are also one less burden.

The site manager, who is worried about the upheaval caused by the disappearance and the consequences for the customers, is curtly sent packing by Laurence. Laurence then discovers, within herself, an unknown strength: "that which mothers gain during their pregnancy."

A regional newspaper, "France West," tries to contact them by telephone. Stéphane is quite flattered but he is brought into line by Laurence who tells him that it's enough with the police, that "it's a case of abduction," and that they are not going to recount their life for the tabloids.

To herself, however, she imagines the front page of the newspaper, the photos. She hears herself saying: "I insist that the faces of my other two children are blurred," The small world of Granville seemed suddenly quite shabby to her.

"For Madec, Laurence was seeing bigger things."

Thursday, 26 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 14

Résumé of chapter 14 - from original French by Frencheuropean.

The 'flying squads,' comb the surrounding area. Stéphane spends the night at the police station while Laurence stays with the boys.

At seven o'clock in the morning, her husband returns with Inspector Paolo Andreotti, who speaks very good French. Well-built and with a youthful appearance, he has a lopsided smile, which gives him a deceptively idiotic look.

They sit down in the kitchen while the police search the lounge. Laurence remarks, with interest, that there are too many people in such a small space.

"Laurence stared at the totally innocent soles of the police officers' shoes, which were erasing the traces of her secret." They were erasing the traces, which could have revealed the accident.

Stéphane produced an account of the events up to the arrival of the police. Laurence, practically shaking, says she confirms what her husband has said, but Andreotti comments that that is not enough and that she must relate what happened when she went back with the cucumbers, without her husband.

"When I opened the lounge door, my son was already asleep. I hugged him.
- What time was that?
- It was early in the evening: perhaps 21.15

- Did you close the door when you left?

- The front door?

- Did you lock it?
- I believe so. I wouldn't have left the children without doing that."

Laurence is quite satisfied with her answers. Not so difficult after all! Andreotti is perplexed: no evidence of tampering with the shutters, a locked door. In search of a significant detail, he asks Laurence what she did with the cucumbers. She says she doesn't know. Andreotti notes that they are sitting on a small piece of furniture in the entrance hall.

The investigation begins with the customary enquiries about the Macands' activities.

A photo of Madec will be posted on every public building in Tuscany before the evening comes.

In the course of the day, Laurence toughens herself. The memory of Madec's body slips away, little by little, like a little raft drifting towards the horizon. Stéphane, totally disoriented with sadness and worry, nevertheless reckons that his dear wife, Laurence, will never be the same.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 13

Résumé of chapter 13 from the original French by Frencheuropean.

Her friends ask her if the cucumbers calmed Madec. Without thinking, she answers, "Yes," and then corrects herself immediately: "He was sleeping when I went in." She thinks that Madec is somewhat like an unreal death at the cinema. When they get back to the chalet, the door is half-open and the light is on. Not finding Madec, the father says he is going to have a look around outside because he wouldn't be surprised if the child was wandering in the middle of the night. He asks his wife to drive round in the car while he goes to the swimming pool and the beach. He goes out, double locking the door.

Laurence drives mechanically towards the place where the body is hidden. She feels ill when she realises that it's really Madec's body. She takes it in the boot of her car. She drives along the cliff road, overhanging the sea, and pulls onto the verge, where a rough path, forbidden to the public, opens into the void. She drops the body, which falls into the crashing waves.

She starts to sneeze and is relieved to find a handkerchief in her pocket. It's creased, "but still clean."

Ron Murdoch, who has been out for a walk to relax, recognises her at the wheel of the car as she returns.

Meanwhile, the father and the security guard have contacted the police.

Laurence goes to the kitchen and she see the scorpion on the floor. And suddenly, she realises that it wasn't a simple accident, but that "she had killed her son," She collapses onto to the floor in a violent fit of hysteria, the suddenness of which, her husband does not understand.

She hears the police arriving, questioning her husband. She is going to be interrogated.

She thought about Antonin and Vladimir, How much she loved them.

For them, she makes a decision.

That decision is comprised of three words, which she speaks in a low voice, for the very first time.

"Madec has disappeared."

Thursday, 19 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 12

"Nice Family," - résumé of chapter 12 - from original in French by Frencheuropean.

The restaurant cannot supply cucumbers, so Laurence and her husband go to buy some from a grocer's shop and go back to the restaurant.

Madec, who is very frightened of the Kappas, decides to find the scorpion, which his mother has hidden, because only the scorpion can protect him from the monster. While he is in the kitchen fetching a large meat fork from a drawer, he deduces that his mother must have hidden the key ring in a high place. So, he tries to reach the top of the cupboard by climbing onto a bar stool, onto which he places an upturned couscoussier, and finally on top of the cupboard, he makes out the shape of the scorpion. At the very moment when he grabs hold of it, his balance is disturbed and he falls over backwards, hitting his head on the corner of the table. As he falls, he skewers his neck on the meat fork. He dies. The noise does not wake his brothers.

Laurence, who leaves the restaurant to take the cucumbers to him, arrives at the chalet, finds that he's not in the lounge and comes across his body in the kitchen.

A small amount of blood has run from his throat. Without a second thought, she puts everything back in place, wraps the body in the tablecloth, cleans the blood-stained floor with a baby wipe soaked in bleach, puts that into the tablecloth and carries the body to the boot of her car. She drives to the edge of the holiday park and, in the rain, drops the body into a small, muddy, waste water drainage channel. Then she covers it with branches. She drives back.

"A short time later, a Peugeot 807 is seen parking in front of 'La Buona Tavola.' A woman in damp clothing is seen to get out. She is seen going back to her friends' table, tidying her hair, using her fingers as a comb, cutting out the cold part, which she deplored, of a 'four season pizza.'. She is seen eating. She is seen laughing."

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - "Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus

Nice Family," - résumés of chapters 8,9, 10 and 11 from original in French by Frencheuropean.

Chapter 8

They arrive at the site of identical-looking chalets in a pine grove, with a swimming pool and close to the sea, but Laurence is disappointed because it's not as good as it looked on the web and she wonders what the Josserands, who are due to arrive tomorrow, are going to think. She consoles herself with the thought that, "as it's expensive, we won't be with the peasants." They decide to go to the swimming pool. Before leaving, because she cannot throw the scorpion key ring into the bin, she decides to place it on top of the highest kitchen cupboard.

Chapter 9

At the swimming pool, Madec, who is constantly in search of new experiences to spice up a dull life, dives under the water. While he is coming back up, his brothers hold his head under the water. Madec passes out.

Ron Murdoch, who was on a deck chair beside the pool, jumps in and brings out the unconscious child. Laurence, seeing the crowd, rushes over and gives her son emergency aid and succeeds in reviving him.

She gives her grateful thanks to Murdoch, who turns down her invitation to a meal. The brothers are not told off, but Madec gets a bit of spoiling: his bed is made up in front of the telly in the lounge and his food is brought to him.

The brothers apologize to him. He asks for his scorpion key ring, but Laurence is stubborn about it and comes up with the excuse for herself that the object could harbour bacteria. She explains to Madec, in an offhand way, that she has lost it. Furious, Madec does not believe her.

Chapter 10

Laurence recounts what has just happened, in an offhand way, to her husband, who has just returned, stressing the kindness of the Englishman. Their conclusion about the incident is that there was "more fear than danger." The Josserands arrive and their chalet is at the other end of the complex. Julien, tall and handsome, is an architect. His wife, Sylviane, envies Laurence her slender figure, but finds solace by telling herself that she has big bones. Laurence delights in learning that Julien has been unfaithful to Sylviane with his secretary, which consoles her a bit for having a husband with such a repulsive scar. The Josserands have a daughter called Mahud. The friends organise a get-together at 2 o'clock on the beach.

Chapter 11

On return from the beach, Laurence gets her oldest son, who is eleven years old, to read a book that contains scenes of violence, that is much too difficult for him. They have milk pudding, a traditional dish. Afterwards, Laurence adds, "...now you're going to bed because after being so busy with you all day, father and mother want to spend the evening with their friends." Stéphane goes to fetch the Josserands.

A short time later. Fabien arrives with his daughter Mahaut and brings as a gift for Madec, an old book, found in a second-hand shop, which tells the story of Kappa, a monster who hides in the water to drown kids. As such, he says, it will be a souvenir for Madec of his own drowning. There follows, told by Fabien, who likes a good laugh, a horrible tale of this aquatic monster, devourer of children with the most atrocious suffering. But to reassure a terrified Madec, Fabien reveals that only cucumbers, the Kappas' favourite food, takes them away from children. Laurence, who has put the other children to bed, puts out the light, and doesn't understand why Madec starts screaming and asks her to bring him some cucumbers.

A bit bothered, Fabien arranges with Laurence to meet at the restaurant.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - "Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus

"Nice Family," résumé of chapter 7 from original in French by Frencheuropean.

Laurence is well-balanced physically, but too steely to be considered graceful. Her features are mordant, her cheeks smooth, her forehead finely lined, her hair a Nordic blond. But in herself, she is a person of tight-lipped principles. She is a dominant woman who has no truck with contradiction and writes off those who contradict as madmen or cretins. "She knows what she knows."

Stéphane gives way to her for the sake of peace and as she directs the cardiology service, he prefers to leave her with the illusion of power.

More adolescent than grown man, smooth face, and at 46 years old, a full head of hair.

Their relations are coldly regulated, love and sex have no place there.

Between this accommodating father and this very strict mother, Madec, in contrast to his brothers who adjust to the situation, feels very alone. His mother, because of this, thinks that he doesn't love her and attributes her frequent migraines to a son she doesn't understand. She sometimes has nightmares in which she sees herself as an animal, devoured by her own children.

During a stop in Italy, a kind shopkeeper offers Madec a keyring with a scorpion embedded in resin, which fascinates Madec and reminds him of Big. His mother is obliged to accept, but refuses to give it to her son because with a scorpion "it's not meant for a child of seven."

"She knows what she knows."

Thursday, 12 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - "Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus

"Belle Famille," (Nice Family) - résumés of chapters 4,5, and 6 from original French by Frencheuropean.

Chapter 4

When his parents are on duty, Madec likes to watch television in their room. On seeing a woman on the screen getting herself accidentally devoured by a tiger at the zoo, before the eyes of visitors, suddenly interested in animal life, he plays with the idea of violent death.

Then he looks back on Sundays at mass, where he spends his time observing people and notably the old women (he calls them the hens). He notes that his mother often cries during the hymns and doesn't know why. She doesn't elsewhere.

Chapter 5

One day, after mass, he asks old father Garrec if he can go with him to the farm to see the cows. At the house, the old man recounts old stories while drinking red wine. The child insists on drinking a glass of it, then two and falls asleep. Also drunk, the old man goes to sleep. He is awoken by the police, who have been searching for hours for the child. The imp found asleep with the cows with alcohol in his blood, is given into the care of six child psychiatrists to see if he has suffered from the sequestration and is examined by a doctor who establishes that he has not been abused. The old man is committed to a psychiatric hospital. After consulting her lawyer, the mother does not have him prosecuted, but gives him fifty days to leave town. That will not be necessary; he dies after three weeks in hospital, like his forty cows that no one has thought to water in his absence.

End of Part 1

Chapter 6

Leaving for Tuscany. A dull journey, listening to the father's boring stories and searching, unsuccessfully, for restaurants that are open.

Laurence remembers her first meeting with her husband during a surgical operation where she was assisting him. She had decided to seduce him because she wanted to be a mother. It was only in the car park that she realised with horror, as he no longer had his surgical mask on, that a horrible scar crossed the lower part of his face. All the same, she noted that he had regular features and clear eyes and calculated that that mark would make him more vulnerable and attentive, which decided her.

Five years later, their first child Vladimir is born.


Note: the novel, "Belle Famille," can be purchased from Amazon France

"Belle Famille," - "Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus

Chapter 3 - résumé from original French by Frencheuropean

Madec, who is seven years old, has an older brother called Vladimir and a younger brother, Atonin. While the other two are blonde and of easy-going temperament, Madec, who is ginger haired, instead has the manners of a peasant, as odd in his family as his first name.

The father, Stéphane, really took to that Celtic sounding first name during a medical conference in Ireland. His wife reluctantly accepted it, while saying to him that he "was taking responsibility for that kid," two weeks after the child was born by emergency Caesarian because of a rare accident involving the umbilical cord.

Laurence, who has strict educational principles, and imposes on her family a bland organic diet, has, all the same, bought a video game for her sons. Madec, seeing his brothers stupidly zapping with the remote control doubts that he is of the same flesh and blood as them and decides to go out.

It is a Wednesday in Autumn and not a school day. The parents are on duty at the hospital and as the Macand brothers are incredibly sensible, they are left to their own devices for the day. Madec goes down, bare-footed to the beach and thinks about his chameleon, which his father has welcomed with enthusiasm, because he doesn't have very much to say to his son and the chameleon always gives him something to talk about.

To see just how red his skin can go, Madec undresses completely and goes bathing. He is happy because he is totally red in the waves.

Across from the beach, the nurse Francine Frêle sees him and rushes to cross the road and find him. Her chin meets the bumper of a lorry carrying ten tons of oysters. She dies and her brain is mixed up with the crushed shells. Madec comes and asks if she is dead.

Stéphane Macand gives his wife his opinion of the event in this way:

"With breath smelling of Aquavit, Stéphane Marcand explains to his wife that there was nothing they could have done, that they weren't there, either of them - you as well as me.That accidents just happen by accident."

Laurence, dissociating herself from manslaughter by her son, is more shocked by the fact that he was walking around totally naked in public view, placing the blame on the proximity of the nudist (and homosexual) beach, set up by the complaisant authorities according the permissive values of the left.

Regarding her husband, she finds him feeble and uninteresting. He turns to alcohol and that is even the object of "private jokes," at the hospital, but as he is a good diagnostician...

Laurence, a frustrated woman, enjoys underlining that her husband is a loser.

Madec is punished, the nurse is buried. Later there will be an investigation to determine the extent of responsibility of the nurse and Madec's parents for the accident.

With strong glue provided by the town council, school children are each going to stick an oyster shell onto the victim's grave. In the course of time, this will become a renowned place of pilgrimage, which will bring in a lot of money for the town council, which, being grateful, will honour Sandrine Frêle, "for her involvement," in this process.


Note: the novel, "Belle Famille," can be purchased from Amazon France

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - "Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus

"Nice Family," (Belle Famille) by Arthur Dreyfus - Resumé of Ch 2

At her house, Laurence is angry with her forty-year-old brother, Tony, who is always bringing back strange and useless objects for her from his distant travels. This time, he has brought back, for his nephew, a chameleon, which the child Madec watches in its plastic box. Not very easy to chuck that in the bin.

Tony has fun recounting for his sister his rather disreputable adventures in Columbia, knowing that she, who only lives in the present, is not listening. In fact, Laurence is busy worrying about the droppings the chameleon will produce.

Tony teases his sister by reminding her that she had decided to give up on a lovely romantic relationship in Argentina (and not leave Stéphane)
during her internship. Furious, Laurence who, since that episode, has denied herself any happiness, thinks about at least getting rid of the chameleon. She is delighted to see that Madec seems to be disappointed with the chameleon (which is less attractive than in the photos) and suggests to him that the chameleon sleeps in his room, because she has seen that the creature disgusts him somewhat and she hopes that he will refuse the gift for fear of having the animal close to him in the night.

But the child, guessing his mother's intentions, says that he likes the creature and calls it Big. The mother then comes up with a perverse plan: as they are just about to leave for their holiday in Tuscany, she will organise things so that the child forgets to take the chameleon and during the journey, she will exclaim that she has forgotten to feed the chameleon, but that this is not serious because these animals survive without food in the jungle.

On their return, Big will be found, lying on his back, dead, totally shriveled up and all will be well that ends well.

Note: with thanks, once again, to Frencheuropean for the original of this resumé in French.

Monday, 9 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - "Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus - Ch1

"Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus

Chapter 1 - Resumé (Original French by Frencheuropean)

Granville is situated in Normandy, north of Mont St Michel. Granville's inhabitants live by trading in fruits de mer but are loathe, perhaps even frightened, for some obscure reason, to eat them.

In the bay, at the beginning of the century, high tides often carried away children who had gone to fish for mussels and since then children have had an obsessive fear of salt water instilled in them.

The mayor would like to tax those who harvest the fruits de mer at low tide, but the fishermen consider that it's the law of the sea that applies. A good many of the inhabitants support the mayor for financial reasons, except when their children bring back shellfish because then they have their doubts.

The dignitaries keep the best houses on the cliff for themselves and the fishermen's children never climb the hill where the residences are like forbidden Monopoly.

"Belle Famille," - "Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus

<span class=

The Prologue

I don't believe in the truth. Like the human spirit, it has its moods. It has its humour. You think you can grab it by the tail. Then it shies away, forcing us to dream. That is all the writer is doing: dreaming the truth. In his way, he changes it: like the soft caramel produced by the
'white aprons' on the streets of Brittany.

The novelist's basic approach is not rigid. It floats around him. There are tears. There are stories. Some, almost invisible, like those in a provincial newspaper, some over impressive, like a column in a national.

Magritte painted a man looking at an egg, painting a pigeon.

<span class=

I am grabbed, cautiously, by this egg. I have emptied it. From inside, I have poured new life.

Like the man with the pigeon, I only succeed with one of the possible ways of reality. Among many thousands. Apart from the rays of the sun and the wind off the sea, a quick calculation of probabilities subsequently induces me to confess that everything is false. Save for my opening of the shell, any resemblance to real people and situations, past or present, can only be attributed to what Louis Aragon called the eternal rights of the imagination.

The writer is never faithful to the truth. He prefers her little sister, possibility. Forgive him this allegiance, because you must agree that a pike, a snake or a seagull lies more comfortably in an egg than three hundred and thirty Bengal tigers.


Thanks to Frencheuropean for sending the original to me.

The book can be purchased here.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Belle Famille - "Nice Family" by Arthur Dreyfus


'Belle Famille,' a novel in French by Arthur Dreyfus, in which a French family by the name of Macand, the parents both doctors, go on holiday to Tuscany, and lose one of their children, whose name is Madec Macand. Madec dies accidentally in the kitchen of the parents' holiday accommodation, while the parents are dining at a restaurant with friends.

Brief description featured in the online magazine Cultura:

A strange, uncommunicative and lonely child, Madec lives in Granville with his parents and his two brothers.

While the family is on holiday in Tuscany with a couple of friends, Madec almost drowns in the swimming pool. He is saved by an Englishman, Ron Murdoch, an ex-convict who served a long sentence in England for paedophilia.

One evening, while his parents are dining at a restaurant with their friends, Madec dies accidentally in the kitchen of the bungalow.

Going back, for some reason, in the middle of the meal, Laurence finds her son dead on the tiled floor. Without a second thought, she takes the body and gets rid of it, before rejoining the others in the restaurant as though nothing has happened.

On their return to the bungalow, the disappearance sets off a general alert. Searches, more searches, police investigation, paparazzi: within a few days, the parents become celebrities.

The child’s uncle orchestrates a press campaign which gets world-wide attention – reaching Pope Jean-Paul II. Led by an Italian inspector, the investigation is followed closely in high places in France.

The Englishman Murdoch is soon accused of having abducted and killed Madec. His past works against him..Drawing inspiration from a recent news item, Arthur Dreyfus describes that family, set in their silence and spinelessness, with an often cruel irony and Madec’s solitude with entrancing poetry.

Progressively, a climate close to madness sets in, in which the mother, mysterious and silent, plays a central role. Little by little it will be understood why she hides her child’s body.

Published by Gallimard on January 5th 2012, the book is available from Amazon France