Sophie Tal Men’s sixth book (one per year since 2016) is barely in bookstores that it is already legitimate to mention its success: this neurologist at the hospital in Lorient subscribes to print runs of 40,000 copies. This does not make her the equal of her sister-in-law, Aurélie Valognes, who adds a zero to this figure, but we can see in which court the Breton author born in 1980 plays. good ”, the one that is said to do good, in any case which does not hurt. The particularity of Sophie Tal Men is to install her love stories in a medical environment. Yes, like in television series.
1. Who cares?
The hero, Evann Kostas, medical student, is this “giant in the crumpled blouse and scruffy collar who approached her with a nervous step“. He has a messy hair, slightly broken glasses, the complexion of young people who forget to sleep. Frankly, he’s nice. The patient’s name is Clarisse Joyeux. His file states: “Horse fall, subdural hematoma operated on urgently, difficult awakening“. External though he is, Evann is interested, he believes in Clarisse’s future progress. Not to conclude, because of horse riding, that we are among the bourgeoisie. Clarisse, hospitalized in Brest, is a plumber in Ouessant. Do not wait either for the patient to fall in love with the pretty doctor.
2. Where does this smell come from?
The romance is tied with Lily Joyeux, sister of Clarisse, who lives her life far from Ouessant and her family. She works in a Brussels perfume bar. Later, she will be a “nose”. To begin with, she bottles eighteen scents that she hopes will help her sister in her rehabilitation. From “horsehair elixir” at “aromas of buttered chocolate sandwiches», she studied the world of Clarisse: “If she had been taught to create the illusion of a scent by choosing, juxtaposing, dosing handpicked scent components, then Lily didn’t want to invent anything, just get close to the truth.» Between her and Evann, contact is difficult at first. They were in high school in the same class, and she remembers them poorly. Evann, good boy, is all the more moved by this unpredictable girl since he uncorked one of the bottles intended for Clarisse: “scent of scrap metal“. He is upset, on the verge of a crisis (he has epilepsy). Explanation of his older brother: it smells of their father, «he was a mechanic in the submarines». Trauma: «Their mother had died before their eyes, their father on board for feminicide.» Evann thought he had no memory of it.
3. Is it informative?
Sophie Tal Men is too busy dealing with her lovers, «with this surge of endorphins that made them soar and smile blissfully», To look seriously at Clarisse’s frontal lobe. But she explains in passing that this was “emergency surgery to evacuate the blood bag that was compressing his brain». And as the whole novel is based on the virtue of perfumes, the question must be asked: does Clarisse smell something, or is she the victim of anosmia? In which case, it is not the Covid. “Anosmia is often described in head trauma after ethmoid fracture».
Sophie tal men Where happiness is breathed, Albin Michel, 286 pp., 19,90€ (ebook : 7,99€).