The Goncourt Prize was awarded on Tuesday, November 7 to Jean-Baptiste Andrea for “Veiller sur elle” (editions L’Iconoclaste), a love story in the time of fascism in Italy which has already been awarded the Fnac Prize.
The 52-year-old novelist was elected in the 14th round. He faced Eric Reinhardt, Gaspard Koenig and Neige Sinno, awarded the Femina prize on Monday.
“A great moment of emotion”
“It’s a great moment of emotion, we have just dried our tears in the taxi,” reacted the author, very moved, upon his arrival at the Drouant restaurant, where the prize was awarded as has been tradition since more than a century.
He faced Eric Reinhardt, considered the favorite, Gaspard Koenig and Neige Sinno, rewarded Monday with the Femina prize.
A large Italian fresco
With only four novels to his credit, Jean-Baptiste Andrea won the most prestigious French-speaking literary prize thanks to a long fresco on sculpture and Italy.
The novel follows Mimo, born poor and apprenticed to a stone sculptor. He will fall madly in love with an heiress, Viola Orsini, and go through the years with her, until Italy falls into fascism.
“I prepare my entire story. This one is 10 months of preparation, in my head, in a notebook. I don’t write a line of the novel. And one day, I say to myself: my story is there, I So I can’t think twice and wonder where it’s going,” he confided at the start of the school year on France Inter. “My first three novels were behind closed doors. There, I wanted to break all boundaries,” he explained.
Nearly 400,000 copies
The Goncourt prize is the assurance of considerable sales during the last two months of the year, the most important for booksellers.
They reach on average some 400,000 copies. But Goncourt 2022, “Vivre vite” by Brigitte Giraud, disappointed from this point of view, remaining below 300,000 copies.