Pierre Lemaitre goes back in time to explain the reasons

Marceline Bodier, bookstagramer and contributor to the 20 Minutes Books reading group, recommends “Le Silence et La Colère” by Pierre Lemaitre, published on January 10, 2023 by Éditions Calmann-Lévy.

His favorite quote:

Not everyone is sure that they will attend the same game.

Why this book?

  • Because this is the novel of rage: which accompanied the economic transformation of the glorious thirties. Social conflicts involving a disgusting bosses who denounce “communist gangrene”, lost the struggle of the inhabitants of the small village of Chevrigny against the administration that removes them without hesitation – but not without bureaucratic language – to build a dam… all accompanied by the formation of the Evening Journal, which does not hesitate to manipulate public opinion. Do you believe that the 21st century invented all these turpitudes? Face the 1952s!
  • Because this is also the novel of silences, and what silences are: those who support the monstrous couple of Jean, the serial killer who is always saved by the bell, and Geneviève, who makes us tremble for her 3-year-old daughter… or even those who allowing women to have abortions in secrecy and in fear. All this provides the springs of a good thriller and even a thriller. The book has become a real page-turner that we devour quickly, unlike Balzac or Zola, where he competes to paint his century: advantage Pierre Lemaitre!
  • Because there is a lot of talk about “events” (“Hélène doesn’t know what to call that”), understand abortions (and yes, of course, recognition of Annie Ernaux is duly paid for). However, it is in the search for abortions that the horrors of Vichy live, that the zealous officials have not lost everything and continue to use the archives of denunciations and the methods inherited from the occupation . Disgusting, even if we fear it still falls short of the reality experienced by generations of women…
  • Because History à la Pierre Lemaitre, this is also the situation of women: it explores questions of abortion, but also sexual freedom and the place of women in the world of work (in union struggles, women are more at risk than men ). But the author does not hesitate to make women anti-heroes as well: Geneviève plays mischievous to the point of caricature, and Hélène, despite being modern, does nothing in her anger at her editor manipulating him. Neither pleasure nor Manichaeism: you have been warned!
  • Because Pierre Lemaitre is also comfortable to depict relationships of influence (Geneviève and Jean), manipulation (Destousches and the entire village of Chevrigny), and jealousy (Louis, Angèle and Jef). As for boxing, it is very simple: it is “as psychological as it is physical”. If you’ve enjoyed reviewing the fight between Mohamed Ali and Georges Foreman, discover the adventures of Lucien Rozier! short : Silence and Anger is a historical, social and political novel, but if we can follow it too, it is thanks to his psychological excellence.

The essentials in 2 minutes

The plot. The novel takes place in 1952: the thirty glorious years have begun. We read it in 2023: we know very well what social struggles and what planetary fatigue this “glory” paid for… and this is the counter-story told by Pierre Lemaitre through his Pelletier family .

Staff. Fortunately, the Pelletiers are not the Atrides: we have a right to hope that some will survive the two volumes that still await us. But with Geneviève and Jean, nothing is more certain… especially since after Colette, Geneviève gives birth to Philippe. We are shaking!

Places. Paris, Beirut… and Chevrigny. Yes, a village two hours from the capital, which is about to be buried under water to build a dam. OK, it doesn’t exist. But the same cannot be said for the trauma of what thirty glorious years have done in the name of progress…

The time. Rural areas are exploited in the name of economic goals leading to ecological disasters, women who have no control over their bodies… if Pierre Lemaitre does not mention many documents, one almost believe that he projected the errors of our time in 1952. Oh…

Author. Introduce Pierre Lemaitre? Let’s go. Instead, let him speak: “my project consists of ‘leafing through’ the century like a family album”. This album and this family are ours… Silence and Anger is the fifth novel in a series of ten. We can’t wait to read more!

Read this book with having fun “You can’t stop progress,” Cristin continued. All you can hope for is that the injury falls on your neighbor’s head and not yours”: what a joy it is to live in the age of an author who shows us our shortcomings by putting them in the breath of the story!

Want to recommend a book you particularly like? Join our community by clicking here

20 Minutes of Context

Some of the links in this article are sponsored. Every time you buy a book through one of these, we get a commission that helps us pay our bills. To avoid any conflict of interest, we adopt the following procedure:

1. Contributors to the section choose their books, create their files and their reviews independently, without worrying about any links to be added.

2. Links are added afterwards, whenever we find the recommended product on one of our partner platforms.

Thanks in advance to anyone who clicks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *