[Rentrée littéraire] Then The Big WorldPierre Lemaitre expanded his tetralogy focusing on the post-war boom period with Silence and Angerwhich takes us to the heart of 1952.
After his trilogy of children of calamity (2013-2020), highlighting the inter-war period, Pierre Lemaitre offers us a dive into the XXe century, which he deepened in the second part of Glorious year (2022-2023). The story of Silence and Anger opens in the heart of the year 1952, a time when everything seems to be flowing, but when the world doesn’t always feel in its most comfortable place. The France we know today was at this time when it was being built. And from press rights to individual liberties, there are many tensions. This is what the characters of this new novel include in the middle of the literary era. Their stories are colored by these mutations, each more romantic than the other, giving this book the air of a soap opera. A soap opera that can nevertheless be read separately from the previous one.
A social romance
Silence and Anger is also a family fresco, where we see the Pelletier clan at a particular moment in its history. We are happy to meet Jean, who is relentless in opening his department store, François and Nine, who live a stormy passion, or even Hélène, the true pivot of the novel. The latter is a journalist and is experiencing an important moment in his career, but also in the life of journalism and the vision we have of it today, marked by the mass media.
Here in, Silence and Anger presents a bright palette of themes, each of which resonates with our society and the coming revolutions. The question of abortion is, for example, important, putting some characters to the test, but also making us aware of the difficulty women at the time had in disposing of their bodies.
“Abortion is an underground universe that everyone knows about and no one talks about openly. […] »
Silence and Anger
A new world
Under the guise of these Zolian aspects, Silence and Anger is also a picture of an era, of a world built between the past and promises. This point is particularly represented by places like the village of Chevrigny, which gives hope and doubt about the construction of a hydroelectric dam. A construction that could threaten the village, directly inspired by Tignes and its history.
And if Hélène is the privileged witness of this moment, for her part, Jean Pelletier marks the arrival of new ways to maintain the consumer society as we know it today. Upon opening his department store, he made us realize that the notion of progress clearly did not have the same color yesterday as it does today. The color is not the same, the effect is not the same.
“The inhabitants of Chevrigny will go down in history as those who allowed modernity to benefit everyone. »
Silence and Anger
A real pleasure to read
It is a fact, Pierre Lemaitre established himself as a successful author, crowned with the Goncourt Prize in 2013 for goodbye on high. Its recipe seems both very simple and incomparable: a deep art of rebounding, a mastery of human relations, but not only.
We see, in fact, vignettes of fascinating and entertaining subjects, such as boxing with the character of Louis, or this investigation of the “chastity of French women” that allows Hélène to obtain a position in a popular newspaper. . Special mention to the title of the novel, Silence and Angerwhich allows us to better understand where the characters are made, from the beginning to the end.
In other words, in this new story, Pierre Lemaitre stands out as the truly great novelist of the XXe century, the end of the work should be marked by a final trilogy devoted to the years 1970 to 1990.
Silence and Anger, by Pierre Lemaitre, Calmann-Levy, 592 pages, €23.90. In bookstores from January 10, 2023.