Carole Martinez, nesting hearts – Culture / Next

everything starts from an old postcard: a silhouette with a long skirt walks on a road between a church and a post office. This woman must be limping, Carole Martinez said to herself. His imagination got carried away. “The story of each of my books is associated with a somewhat mysterious secondary story. I need some sort of permission to write. […] The postcard was the sign I was waiting for ”, she writes. His lame girl will be Lola Cam, a hardened bachelor, “A fortress”, the postwoman of Trébuailles, a small village in the Gallo region. In the wardrobe of the young woman’s bedroom lie five fabric hearts. For a century, near Malaga, his ancestors at the approach of death had been making a heart-shaped cushion. They locked up the story of their life. The eldest daughter inherited that of her mother and her predecessors, and so on. Not to be opened under any circumstances.

There you go, Carole Martinez has started to embroider again. This secret box frame reminds Sewn heart, her first novel, already a Spanish female line in transmission. And she sets off once again in a ghost story. Beautiful restless souls seem to whisper in her ears: she made Esclarmonde the recluse in her second novel, Blanche in her third. But if the wild roses still speak of family heritage, curse and missing persons, they cry out the desire to put an end to traditions. It first takes the form of a strange cold wind in Lola Cam’s beloved garden, presumably coming from the crack in the cemetery wall. The whirlpool then rushes into the house and opens one of the precious hearts. Inside, there are the words of the great-grandmother… and the seeds of roses. In two days, despite their almost hundred-year-old confinement, they emerge from the earth; in seven, they invaded Lola Cam’s garden in an explosion of color, scent and thorns. But if Carole Martinez created them, these magical and erotic flowers, she doesn’t like them.

Because she herself is a character in her own novel. She is invited by Lola Cam to dinner at a kig-ha-farz (Breton stew), visits her at the post office to have the pleasure of listening to the old women of the village gossip. She melts in love for her heroine but laments not to progress in her text, she who is however supposed to take advantage of these three months of isolation far from Paris and his family.

The tale of Lola and the open heart pushes nested stories, as if, like the wild roses, they never ceased to emerge from the imagination of Carole Martinez. It is writing that she speaks in this novel. “Do you tell real stories?”, Lola Cam asks him. A little yes. Is the novel a lie? Does it contain reality? Why trap his obsessions between the pages? Questions come back between the lines of fiction. The author speaks intimately about her tendency to be caught up in the theaters she creates at the risk of getting lost between two worlds. “Sometimes my reason hangs by a thread. It would take almost nothing for me to stay perched up there, soaring. “ What this fourth novel does so well is the creator’s play of abysses with her creature.


Frederique Roussel

Carole Martinez

Fawn roses

Gallimard, 346 pp., € 21 (ebook: € 14.99).

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