the temptation of the human terrier

General medicine

by Olivier Cadiot

P.O.L, 396 p., 21 €

Olivier Cadiot, born in 1956, is our supposedly “difficult” contemporary author who devours most easily. Over the years, her stylistic requirement appears less capricious. The writer undresses and reveals himself as the books pass. That’s more than a chandelier, Providence cleared the ground, or rather the theater of operations. The time would soon be for a novel with consistent characters.

→ READ. The criticism of “Providence”, by Olivier Cadiot

General medicine keeps such a promise today. The text is magnificent and jubilant, with its crowded tongue which maneuvers the cover of reality with a goal that entangles literature and politics: to free space in the face of the oppression of the species. All punctuated by bursts of laughter throughout a reading as fresh as it is liberating, in spite – or by grace – of this sentence which sums up the atmosphere: “We’re all damn in mourning. “

A bereaved brother and an anthropologist who returned from the Americas

The beginning turns out to be a prodigious tension: in a funeral convoy, next to his half-brother’s coffin, the narrator listens and listens again. And power, the overwhelming largo of a mass by Joseph Haydn. The showdown begins which will run through and sustain the novel: between the slow movement of the music and the speed of the automobile, between what goes up to the sky and what goes straight ahead, incarnation and putrefaction , belief and unbelief.

The bereaved brother, after a brief Californian interlude, teams up with an anthropologist who returned from the Americas after thirty years of absence, to the point of finding himself a tourist in his country. This duo takes the railway to reach the south of Limousin, where a family house will serve as a somewhat tyrannical abbey. In the train a trio is formed, with the addition of Pierre, a young orphan of everything, innocent with full memory: he discovers the world and seizes it, moving from the status of village idiot to that of encyclopedia on feet .

“Ouch! Is it a snake?

– A nettle, Pierre, we will have to start to understand nature. “

Cheerful reading flash

Within the rustic mess, the years pass in a flash of joyful reading filled with chiseled obsessions for our three castaways from the land: the verb conjoin, the observation of Galileo in 1610, the roast beef, the creation of a religion faithful to its etymology (link), a mechanic who destroys cars awaiting repair with tire iron, the possibility of a disease, the soul issue, or the appearances of a squirrel leading to metempsychosis. “We didn’t bother”, is it written. We neither…

On the borders of Charente and Dordogne, an astonishing relationship is sometimes established with the novel by Mathias Énard published this fall and located on the borders of Deux-Sèvres and Vendée: The Annual Banquet of the Brotherhood of Gravediggers (Actes Sud). As if two major writers had, at the dawn of the third decade of the XXIe century, explored the temptation of the human burrow at a time when humanity was unscrewing. Olivier Cadiot states it: “We know that dreams prepare us for the next day. Books too, since they are only a rehash, a rehash of all possible situations, the craziest equipment between objects, bodies – perhaps I am an animist without knowing it. “


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