Why it is best to reread The Colonial Exposition by Erik Orsenna

THE BEST OF GONCOURT AWARD – “Time, thank God, has not ‘weathered’ this ebook of immensity: it has left it intact, as creative, insolent, incendiary as within the days of its delivery,” writes the novelist and screenwriter Didier Decoin.

Didier Decoin is a novelist and screenwriter, writer particularly of John l’EnferGoncourt Prize 1977, and The Maid of the Titanic (1991). He was elected a member of the Académie Goncourt in 1995, he has been its president since 2020.


L’colonial exhibition 1931, the second occasion to be held in Paris (others had already been held in Lyon, Rouen, Rochefort, Marseille or La Rochelle), was inaugurated on Could 6. The least we will say is that it was spectacular! The leaders of the IIIme The Republic wished, by this exhibition, to steer public opinion of the deserves of the colonial conquests and to point out the nations the “fraternal and affectionate” attachment of France to its empire, and vice versa; hyperlinks that earned him the contrôlée denomination of “Grande France”.

Regardless of the grim climate and the sickest lily of the valley this yr, the environment was good and the cockades of the Legion of Honor bloomed like by no means earlier than on the lapels of the frock coats. It should be stated that we had put the small dishes within the huge ones: reconstruction of an Angkor temple within the Bois de Vincennes, everlasting museum of the colonies within the Golden Gate, building of a reproduction of the Nice Mosque of Djenné, jewel of Mali. 1000’s of extras: Annamese dancers, Arabian horsemen, fetish sculptors, musicians, storytellers, animal trainers, and so on. – welcomed the roughly 300 thousand guests who got here every day.

It was not successful, it was a triumph!…

Nonetheless, do not look forward to finding an echo of this in Erik Orsenna’s novel: in reality, for this writer who nonetheless hasn’t completed shocking us, The Colonial Exhibition, is a title. A great title, little doubt, a type of titles that make one consider these completely large Venetian keys, chiseled like cathedrals, enriched with treasures of treasured stones, and destined to open tiny chests (Lilliputians or Pygmies, it is your alternative!) however which accommodates greater than a treasure: the little secrets and techniques of happiness.

That’s the philosophy of the Orsennas (sure, of the 2 Orsennas: Erik, the writer of the novel, and Gabriel, its protagonist, as a result of they share the identical final identify): it’s a must to be taught to make life a colonial exhibition. ..

Didier Decoin

As a result of that’s the philosophy of the Orsennas (sure, of the 2 Orsennas: Erik, the writer of the novel, and Gabriel, its protagonist, as a result of they share the identical final identify): we should be taught to make life a colonial exhibition. …

However what’s a colonial exhibition? Effectively, for instance that in its “mannequin of life” sense, it is a bit like a sherbet Tutti Frutti, or a soufflé, a tart, a Bonne-Maman fruitcake. Armed with this precept, our Gabriel, who pretends to resemble the Bibendum, the spherical and spherical muse of Michelin tires, our Gabriel will subsequently handle to like, and be cherished, by two girls on the similar time, Ann and Clara, two sisters , one blonde and one brunette, who would not have spoiled a François Truffaut film, like The 2 English and the continent. You’ll journey aboard an amazing boat that may navigate each the glaucous waters of the Amazon River and alongside its banks, among the many rotten bushes, just under the peaks the place the invisible monkeys howl, you’ll observe a thousand and one trades, ideally in relation to rubber, a fabric by which Gabriel is “fell in love», because the Quebecois say, for him, the world is an enormous ball ofhevea brasiliensis that bounces and bounces endlessly, like the froth ball that does not come out of the underside of your pocket.

In fact, we’re all Gabriel Orsennas.

Jean Cayrol, of whom Erik Orsenna was one of many “sons” (strictly literary affiliation, which Cayrol most well-liked to his disciples), stated it willingly: we expect we dwell one life, in reality we dwell a thousand, a thousand lives superimposed on one another. different. , which inevitably makes a little bit of a large number. However, added Cayrol, is not dysfunction the aim of the novel? In different phrases, is not writing a novel about disarranging issues to place them collectively in one other means? Spray to restructure? “The novelist should be taught to interrupt his toys.Cayrol informed me in the future once we had been speaking about Erik Orsenna. And he added:That is what the poet does: he annihilates the concrete in an effort to dream it higher. We name that “taking liberties”, I name it creating

This hymn to dysfunction shouldn’t scare you, nor above all dissuade you from throwing your self into this ebook (most likely, for instance it parenthetically, the one novel whose presence the postman Cheval would have tolerated within the library of his Ideally suited Palace, this monument to the glory of the disparate). , the cartoonish, the motley, the dissonant, that citadel as sensible as it’s absurd that Cheval took thirty-three years to construct, alone and together with his personal palms, and which he christened the Ideally suited Palace)

Didier Decoin

This hymn to dysfunction shouldn’t scare you, nor above all dissuade you from throwing your self into this ebook (most likely, for instance it parenthetically, the one novel whose presence the postman Cheval would have tolerated within the library of his Ideally suited Palace, this monument to the glory of the disparate). , the cartoonish, the motley, the dissonant, that citadel as sensible as it’s absurd that Cheval took thirty-three years to construct, alone and together with his personal palms, and which he christened the Ideally suited Palace).

Effectively, echoing the work of Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, it responds in a option to Erik Orsenna’s masterpiece.

Automotive The Colonial Exhibition It’s not a type of masterpiece: it is only a masterpiece, a masterpiece that jumps and bounces. Mount it, throw your self like Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Baron of Münchhausen, on his cannonball, and you will notice…

Virtually midway by the ebook, Orsenna gives us an extended and sumptuous second that she titled rainforest notebooks. Open it, open your nostrils large, breathe with Gabriel: “Oh scent of smoked gum, breaths of the immense forests, all you needed to do was shut your eyes, yawn your nostrils and we’d go there, removed from the Auvergne mists, oh Brazil of all of the scents.” What an exquisite and distinctive option to journey within the air we breathe…

Though he wears the crown of the Prix Goncourt, The Colonial Exhibition puzzled some readers. Near seven hundred pages, and never least, at a time when every little thing has to go sooner than quick, when every little thing must be rushed? Satan, I perceive that generally we did not perceive. Time, thank God, has not “mediated” this ebook of immensity: it has left it intact, as creative, insolent, incendiary as within the days of its delivery. When you’ve got by no means learn it, deal with your self to the enjoyment of discovering it. And in the event you’ve already tried it, open it once more to savor it once more: like a rubber ball, each time you learn it, it bounces in another way…

Flight. 10: Erik Orsenna – The Colonial Exhibition. ISBN 978-2-8105-0952-2 Public worth: €12.90 – 640 pages. Publication on newsstands on July 15, 2022 in newsstands.

»» You will get this ebook from the « Le Meilleur du Prix Goncourt » assortment on the worth of 12.90 euros.


SEE ALSO – Erik Orsenna was the visitor of the morning Radio Classique – Le Figaro

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