Culture: our book selection

Laurence Nobécourt, PE Cayral and Malek Abbou are the authors of the works selected by the editorial staff of Lyon Capitale at the beginning of the year.

Funny birds!

Laurence Nobécourt’s latest novel, bird Opera, is a unique book. Very different from the hundreds of works that this last literary period has to offer. More demanding, harder to access but also more rewarding, stronger in the imprint it leaves on the reader. It should not be read at once, not only because it is more than five hundred pages, but above all because it is a pleasure to discover it and savor it, patiently, for a long time.

It’s a kind of “novel-world” that unfolds within a year, past or soon to come, who knows? One has the impression of reading, over their shoulder, the diary that fifteen characters will keep for a whole year. They both read the Japanese poet Yazuki (whom Laurence Nobécourt initially believed to be fiction but turned out to be very real!) which, itself, is an integral part of the fresco.

So, according to the various protagonists, their intimate confessions, we are here in New York, Venice, Paris, Portugal, Russia, Africa or Japan … In other words, anywhere in this world…

The characters of this unusual brotherhood are more or less old; their lives are sometimes ahead of them, sometimes behind them. But through the powerful language of Laurence Nobécourt, and its surprising power, they are able to convey to us their precious experience of time, love, friendship, bonds – friendship or family – that bind between beings, art, poetry, and death, which can be, if not happy, at least peaceful.


bird opera – Laurence Nobécourt, Grasset editions, 512 p., €24.

Hats off!

PE Cayral’s first novel, In the beginning, we were four, deserves a thumbs up. And not just because this 50-year-old, born in Lyon, is… a hat seller.

Judging by this first novel, and if others like it follow, he might as well be a real writer. In any case, he has a writing that has the gift of stirring our imagination.

The first pages of the book testify to this. They describe the birth, and the moments leading up to it, of Gus. He is one of the heroes of this novel swept away by the spray and the noroît winds, as it takes place mainly within a family farm, in Finistère.

“One of the heroes”, because there are many. Cayral describes a large family. It brings to life, from childhood to advanced adulthood, to adolescence and young adulthood, the adventures of three twin brothers. And even, one might say, the quadruplets, because the fourth twin, still alive, speaks from time to time.

The novel is actually written in a polyphonic way, giving the floor to the three siblings but also to their mother, their father or other relatives of the triplets. Perhaps so that we can better understand how, behind the physical appearance that is similar (they look like two drops of water), each has its own destiny, its own thinking and particular perspective on events, both experienced together rather than individually. individual faces.

The novel keeps us enthralled from beginning to end because it knows how to make the three members of this unique sibling likable and lively.


In the beginning, there were four of us – PE Cayral, Anne Carrière edition, 304 p., €19.

Abbou football

Last year, with their collection “The Writers’ Club”, Médiapop editions made a tour in France of the strongholds of French football. The way: ask an author to tell his report to his club of hearts and, thus, the club itself.

After going through Marseille, Saint-Étienne, Metz, Rennes, Reims and Bordeaux, “The Writers’ Club” finally stopped in Lyon and near OL with the writer and essayist Malek Abbou. With Olympique Lyonnais in full denial, it doesn’t hurt. Or that’s a lot. Because, with nostalgia, the author remembers the appearance of his first love thrill for the club. A feeling of being almost blind – then, except for going to the stadium, football was invisible.

Then the various glory hours of the club of Jean-Michel Aulas, especially his seven consecutive championship titles, this feeling of incompetence and his exploits in Europe (so many).

But what makes the beauty of the book and the collection – and makes it possible to find interest in it without being a fan of OL or another of these clubs – is the loving approach to the matter. , the calling of childhood and the determined literary nature of this supporter’s book is unlike any other, passionate but fair. Just as often is the transition to this supernatural attachment to a club where everything goes wrong.

For exiles, Lyonnais from elsewhere, in addition to the books already published, two books have recently appeared, dedicated to FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and PSG.


Ordinary scenes from the life of lions – Malek Abbou, Médiapop editions, 104 p., €9.

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