Chloé Thomas, Joann Sfar and Mathieu Belezi: books not to be missed

Chloe Thomas Joann Sfar and Mathieu Belezi books not to

Because the night

By Chloe Thomas.

Shores, 144 p., €18.

The rating of L’Express: 4/5

Because at night By Chloé Thomas. Shorelines

© / Shorelines

It’s a book about difficult and silent hours, those after eleven or midnight. We are never prepared for the night, ignorant of what will happen: sleep or wakefulness, dream or nightmare. By opening her beautiful essay with a disturbing “Nobody sleeps”, Chloé Thomas, researcher in literature, does not diagnose generalized insomnia. It must be understood as a Lacanian aphorism: sleep is not an act, is not a decision that we take, it is sleep that takes us or rejects us. Short, superbly written, ornate, Because the night turns our dark hours into a cabinet of curiosities where we come across the pleated pillows of Dürer, the moths by Ravel or a forgotten science fiction novel, The exit is deep in space (1956). Unexpected, disturbing like the kiss at the sleeping Beautythe cabinet pieces cast doubt on our fitness for sleep and the world in general.

We learn that only industrial society has made continuous night self-evident, where Antiquity and the Middle Ages split it in two; or that our biological clock is thirty minutes behind the solar clock, which we try somehow to compensate for. This visit to the night becomes restless meditation, which culminates in the overwhelming chapter “The nightclub”. In a few pages worthy of Benjamin commenting on Parisian passages, the author captures the essence of a place and an era, its sociology and its symbolism, its tragedies too (the terrible fire at 5-7 in 1970). Like our nights, this book runs along chasms. Philippe Chevallier

And God laughed a lot

By Joann Sfar.

Albin Michel, 224 pages, €19.90.

The rating of L’Express: 3/5


And God laughed a lot By Joann Sfar. Albin Michael

© / Albin Michael

If we tell you that Joann Sfar summons here Zelinsky, Koestler, Chabrol, Riad Sattouf, Amélie Nothomb, King David, beatniks in the desert, but also François Abergel (the homo veterinarian of the Last Jew in Europe) and a certain Raymond Bettoun, a far-right Jewish polemicist whose family is from Sétif, you will understand that it is not easy to summarize And God laughed a lot. Especially since the author also deals with cancel culture, cultural appropriation andalya (Immigration of a Jew to Israel). But let’s try…

Just after successfully adapting (and with only one actress, Martinican) The Greatest Philosopher of France, a well-known novel by cartoonist Sfar, Pierre Cohen, a famous 71-year-old director and theater director, with an ever-vivacious libido, decides to go to Israel. His alibi? The sung theater adaptation of Rabbi’s cat. On the plane, this “universalist secular French Jew” on the left finds himself seated not far from Bettoun, “the anti-Jew” “who has just taken a dip in the elections” and intends to be elected deputy of the French for the stranger. The conversation is stormy…while Cohen’s expedition to the land of Israel soon proves pitiful. To rest from this festival of extravagances mixed with good words, self-mockery and sallies, we will open Riviera (Sonatine), the new comic book by the insatiable Sfar, which takes us to Nice, where its antihero, a slightly ugly ex-guitarist converted into a restaurant owner, has to deliver 30,000 euros to a cop’s uncles. A delicate – and delicious – mission in times of Covid and on Shabbat time… Marianne Payot

The Little King

By Mathieu Belezi.

Le Tripod, 128 p., €15.

The rating of L’Express: 4/5


The Little King By Mathieu Belezi. The Tripod

© / The Tripod

Frédéric Martin is a fiery and determined editor. When he loves, he loves. After having set his sights on Jacques Abeille, Edgar Hilsenrath, Jacques Roubaud, Goliarda Sapienza, etc., he is now attacking the work of Mathieu Belezi, which he successfully published last year Attack the Earth and the Sun, superb novel on colonial Algeria of 1830. And of which he intends to republish many of his exhausted titles. Starting with this amazing little king, released in 1999 by Phébus, a perfect sample of the author’s singular tone, the result of a harsh, poetic, powerful, angry language too.

Anger, Mathieu, 12, the narrator, is overwhelmed by it. Is right. His mother has just left him (abandoned him?) at his grandfather’s, on a hillside in Provence swept by the mistral. “What did I do to deserve this exile? I am a child and I believe myself guilty of everything”, notes the little boy from the city, as he discovers life on the farm and this nature so changing with the seasons. . The tenderness of the Pope (wonderful character) and the sweet moments spent in his company (listening to France-Scotland on the radio, evenings by the fire, hot chocolate in the morning, the half-race bike offered at Christmas ) are unable to calm the inferno that gnaws at him. So he takes revenge on the weakest: Parrot, the school’s whipping boy, and the animals, ants, chickens, flies, water rats, whom he tortures at will. Little by little, he reveals the reasons for the grief, the merciless struggle and the blows between his father and his mother. “No, dad, no”… A tour de force that this sensitive text and so just at the height of a teenager! PM