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