This Tilting world by Colette Fellous

Tilting_38.jpgThis Tilting World by Colette Fellous

French fiction

Original title – Pièces détachées

Translator – Sophie Lewis

Source – review copy

The small publisher Les Fugitives has brought some interesting and challenging reads out from Female french writers they have brought us some great titles this last few years and here we have the French Tunisian writer and radio producer for French Culture, Colette Fellous has written over twenty novels she was mentored in her early career by the great Roland Barthes. This is an ode to her exile from her homeland but also that feeling of being between places and times that exiles feel this is a tribute to the Tunisian Jewish community that has left its homeland on the whole now.

It all happened in the same peroid, over a few short months. In Paris, the Charlie Hebdo massacres and the one at porte-de-Vincennes Kosher supermarket in January. The Bardo in March. Alain two weeks ago, and yesterday the beach at Sousse. Always on a Wednesday or a Friday. Of course Alain’s death should not be on the list, it has nothing ot do with the otherm his was an accidental death, a heart attack, most likely. The others were murde3rs, premeditated crimes, attacks. But these collectivd shocks, these blows to our bodies and our personal lives, have become interleaved with Alain’s death,woth the shock of that death, in the heat of the day, down in the village streets. He died on his sailing boat, in mid-ocean, in the space of a few minutes.

The attaxcks her friends sudden death all topple down one after another.

This book is triggered by a number of events firstly the terrorist attack that happened in Sousse in June 2015. Our main character is nearby on a beach she sits starring at the sea. Gathering the horror of the Attack but also she had also just lost her father and a close friend. This leads to a fragmented work where she tries to piece together then and now. Her time between Tunisia and France growing up in both worlds but never really feeling part of them. Then Her Father a quiet man who left Tunisia to live in France late on in his life. She tries to bring his world alive him from those little things smells music literature builds this quiet man up. Then she at times she digresses from Maupassant’s work of the turn of the century his view of Tunisia and then Proust buying a small diary that was the trigger for his great work from a shop in Paris. All this mixes with memories of Tunisia but also the Med a loss of a close friend the sea. But as she said at one point the faces objects crowd each other and dazzle me. A novel in parts to home, exile, terror, family , friends and also those little bits of everyday.

Tomorrow, yes, I will leave this house, I”ll abandon the village and the life here, all the faces rthat I love will leave.The friends, the objects, the doors, the pavement slabs, the tall eucalyptus and the wild olive trees, the orange groes, the roads , the markets,the music, the fruit, the dancing, my window of blue. I’ll leave it all, no strength left. I don’t know how I’ll get to slepp .Just now changed my bed around to try it out: with your head to the north you’ll sleep better, souad told me, you don’t take enopugh care with your sleep, you don’t take enough time for yourself.

Leaving her home is hard.

 

This is one of those novels in which there is no real plot no real action just fragments like a lot of flotsam and jetson collected and made into something Beautiful the everyday things memories places and smells. I read a french interview which this is mention and her mentor Barthes –

You cannot read Spare Parts without thinking of your master Roland Barthes, who claimed sweetness, words, words, smells, all the little everyday things that need to be sublimated.
That is true. Roland Barthes has always led this fight. In my training, he replaced my parents and gave me protection and sensuality. Barthes had this fabulous power to decipher the world with words. This is all that makes this book. If the small room is not there, nothing works. I gathered all these small parts which constitute me and that night I managed to operate this love machine but I sought, sought, wrote… I invoked my life, the other life in Normandy where I met all these villagers who had never moved, people who brought me back to my nomadic reality and who also reminded me that I had to stay that way. from https://www.lorientlitteraire.com/  
The French title is Spare Parts here is a tribute and a lament to a world gone almost like the attack at the start of the book its heart has been pulled out a community of Jews there now gone a father gone a dream of the place blown apart. it is an ode to a world gone she is equal Bartes and Ernaux in the way she talks about literature and music here. Another contender for tomorrow’s longlist.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Feb 27, 2020 @ 01:39:22

    This sounds excellent. I can’t think of any other novels that have referenced Je Suis Charlie…

    Reply

  2. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Feb 27, 2020 @ 10:46:33

    Sounds wonderful Stu. With the Barthes connection I may have to investigate!

    Reply

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