February 26- The Fairy Gunnmother :-)


Dear February,

have you met the fairy Gunnmother? You’d better not, she doesn’t seem a very friendly kind of person. I am talking of course about a character from the book of Daniel Pennac, a book waiting for me to open and finally… read it!

Usually, you read these books at school, but if you have passed them by, it is something rediscovering them as a grown-up (more or less). I read this summer the first of the series, and after all, Daniel Pennac is part of the OULIPO literary circle that I particularly appreciate 🙂

It seems that a dose of suspense, romance and humor is my kind of thing.

I have read the first one, “The Scapegoat”, this summer, and for some reason I did all these irrelevant things (falling in and out of love, and in again, leaving and returning to Paris, … blogging) and I finally come back to the second book.

Benjamin Malaussène is again the main character. Quiet different from Victor Legris that I started to find attractive. Benjamin is not someone who lives with his foster-father after his 30s. Benjamin is foster-father to his younger brothers and sisters. And a scapegoat to people who look for someone to blame. His love life? “Tante” Juliette. No, she is not his aunt. She is a journalist, and someone who finally helps him out a little bit in more than one ways.

Benjamin lives with his family in Belleville, a Parisian neighborhood open to migrants of different origins, and much more than that of course.

The book starts with a murder: an old lady shoots a young policemen without apparent reason.

To be continued…


June 28- “Write to Kill” with Daniel Pennac

Dear June,

Saturday was a lazy day, since I needed time to realize yesterday’s miracle: my project passed the first round for a funding! Now, instead of going to the supermarket, cleaning up the house, being a responsible adult, I camped in one of my favorite cafés with a book.

A novel, one I have started several times, but at first, I wasn’t attracted enough to read it through. “La petite marchande de prose” by Daniel Pennac. Write to Kill, for the english translation, Harvill, 1999. It is the type of book you usually read early in life, but at the time I didn’t feel like it. Then, four years ago, some friends offered me the trilogy this book belongs to. Again, I looked here and there and left them waiting on the bookshelf.

Last summer, as I was working on my novel, for some mysterious reason I took over the first: “Au bonheur des ogres” translated by Ian Monk as The Scapegoat, Harvill Press, 1998, and I loved it! Now, I don’t know the reason for this change. Has my taste evolved? Or is it that Daniel Pennac is close to the OULIPO writers I started to appreciate that led me to it?

I realized that I feel myself at home in his writing: his style is humorous, but he also treats very deep questions with compassion and humanity. And on top of that, there is a mystery to solve. I love suspense!

For the record, the second part of the day involved taking a nap. And I didn’t even wake up early enough to go to a party!

P.S. June, if you want to know about the OULIPO writers check my post on May 15, or ask May to tell you all about it when you next meet 😉