Medieval China, the Warsaw Ghetto, a fantastic thriller… Readings for a week


From the Warsaw ghetto recreated by Sophie Blandinières to medieval China dear to J. M. G. Le Clézio, the vicissitudes of journey to the Edge of the Night in the world of cinema in the long and rich life of Robert Bober, who returns there in a book of memories “Scattered”, At times, life is not sure, passing through the ghostly and rebellious universe of Catherine Dufour, the books of the week tirelessly travel through time and space.

STORY. “At times, life is not sure”, by Rober Bober

It is to the journalist and writer Pierre Dumayet (1923-2011) – with whom he formed a “Friendly team”, which was the honor of French television -, that Robert Bober addresses this precious book, all in delicacy, in unaffected modesty. He also borrows his title from this accomplice. Of which “At times, life is not sure”, the writer knows the threatening part, he who was a child hidden under the Occupation, and whose literary and cinematographic work revolves around the disappearance of the Jews of Europe.

And if this dimension is certainly not absent from this book preoccupied with transmission, if the possibility of the worst is recalled in several passages, it is first of all a question here of celebrating, in the uncertainty of existence, the possibility of the best. To praise these coincidences that are the meetings, and which have oriented the existence of the author, a former tailor who became Truffaut’s assistant, then a companion to Dumayet, friend of Georges Perec, then, at 60, a writer.

Story “Scattered” and admirable on friendship, At times, life is not sure is carried by a refusal of the emphasis and the pathos that make the haunting beauty of this book where we learn to listen and look at others, to walk with our living and dead, by making ourselves available to encounters and surprises . Looking back on his past without nostalgia, but knowing how to convey the importance of what has been. Raphaëlle Leyris

“At times, life is not sure”, by Robert Bober, POL, 352 p., € 21.90, digital € 16.

NOVEL. “Soul Hunt”, by Sophie Blandinières

The literature which seizes on the destruction of the Jews of Europe often takes the party to fall back on the side of the executors, in an attempt to approach through fiction the mechanisms of evil, if not those of suffering.

Sophie Blandinières makes the opposite choice by recounting the struggle for the survival of a group of children and adolescents from the Warsaw ghetto. In The Soul Hunt, it is the persecutors who constitute the shapeless mass, while the privilege of having a face is reserved for the persecuted.

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