“And the day will be for me like the night”: Françoise Grard seeks to see


The writer Françoise Grard, in 2018.

“And the day will be for me like the night”, by Françoise Grard, Maurice Nadeau, 144 p., 18 €.

The first sentence, ” This is not entirely true “seems to answer the title, And the day will be for me like the night. From the outset, Françoise Grard establishes a dialogue inside and outside her novel, a pendulum swing between light and shadow, now and childhood, memory and writing, incredulity and struggle.

With bitter spring (Maurice Nadeau, 2018), she already maintained in three portraits of women these threads of childhood that, since 1998, she knots in her novels for young people. Here, diving into intimate land takes us even further, snorkeling behind his eye. The story of a changeover, the novel is, one thinks at first, that of a reclusion: a September 5, “like a punch from within”, reality suddenly only appears to the narrator in the form of a torn photo. Without warning, half the world has slipped from his field of vision, transforming over the hours into an inverted stencil: his eyes no longer perceive anything but outlines, barely a few shadows – a detachment of the retina that the we operate on an emergency basis. How, then, to accept to live “lowercase”of“auscultate the silence” bumping into everything? Against the doors, against the colors.

But the chronicle of walling suddenly turns into a hectic diary of exploration. “Ejected from reality”, Françoise Grard draws from the only reality to which she now has access: her own life, which begins to parade behind her retina to compose, from one chapter to another, the daguerreotype of her resistance, in the double sense of the term: denial in the face of disaster and fighting spirit. Because the sight problems have always dogged her. A cataract, at age 7, obstructed her right eye, causing her to squint “dead eye”. Around the writer, beings and things danced in a “original fog” – a forest of apparitions where apples became human heads. An unfinished world, gradually elucidated in the form of stories of his own.

Turn things around

From her partial blindness, the budding writer drew a secondary benefit: recourse to the gaps in reality, affirmation of an irreducible difference, writing was born in these interstices. And the day will be for me like the night makes blind spots speak, echoing Victor Hugo and the fictional heroes who helped the narrator to invent, on her own, the novel she has decided to live. It unfolds in a swinging gesture between the damaged present and the tenacious past, despair and the facetious biting of the words that respond to it. Reversing the movement of things, their nibbling, Françoise Grard seizes with full teeth of her universe in chiaroscuro.

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