In August 2001, Amélie Nothomb offered its tenth novel, Cosmétique of the on enemy to us believed to know it and here that with this novel diverting, surprisingly serious, it manages to still surprise us. Maintenance that it granted to us enabled us to check, if need be, its charm and its intelligence. We are pleased thus to make you share a conversation full with sincerity of humour and modesty.
ous, in this novel, as in Hygiène of the assassin, on the importance of "really reading", can you insist develop what you understand by there, so that I would be sure myself to have read to you well...
- It is about a carnivorous reading, that about which
speaks Prétextat in "Hygiene about the assassin". More and more of people,
today, practise the reading out of diving-suit: they often are very cultivated and can
speak very well about the books, but they read without that modifying their components;
the book is there only to cultivate them, not to modify them. However, it is necessary to
be put, I believe, completely with naked in front of the text. Fortunately, it seems to me
that many of my readers really read me, the proof it is that when I sit down in the subway
opposite somebody who reads one of my books, it never notices my presence. It is very good
- I swear you that I did not think of it everyone believes that it is a wink
that I make because it is the tenth novel but at any time I did not see the relationship.
If it had not been said to me, I would not have even noticed it; my blindness, my lack of
clearness with respect to myself and my books is extraordinary!
- not, my childbirth - best than I can and most sincerely that I can, but it should
not especially be thought that I include/understand all that I do. I know very well which
feeling I want to be given, but I am far from all to include/understand; fortunately that
I have readers and lectrices relevant to open the eyes.
- It is very difficult for me to know it. at the moment when I wrote it, I
realized of this gravity and I was not besides always very at ease; from there with
knowing if that corresponds to something in my life... I do not know, I am somebody of
very little with the current on oneself. Perhaps that in ten years I will know why... I
generally spend an insane time to include/understand the things.
- I really do not explain it, but I assisted to with it; it appeared gradually. there had already been, when I was three years old, an extraordinary loss of capacity but there were well others of it thereafter, until the birth in me of what I call the interior enemy, with twelve years and half. It was not already badly liveto have lived nine years and half without interior enemy... When it appeared, I felt that it was not going to leave.
This bond between writing and culpability seems manifest in the choice to name "the interior enemy" textor Texel...
- In what relates to me, yes, it is most probably of this kind.
In Cosmétique of the enemy, as in Hygiène of the assassin, adolescence is a true calamity that does occur thus the so terrible one there?
- Me, I lived it as a fall. The state of child was a state which
suited me well and then suddenly, this fall... not only one diminution of me even, but the
simultaneous emergence of my interior enemy. He which was not a minute there earlier is
suddenly installed as a machine to destroy me, against which it was necessary me to learn
with guerroyer.A when a novel for us to tell it?
- It is an interpretation which appears optimistic to me. I have a design of the culpability even absurder than that which I develop in my book. In the book, although there remains a doubt, one nevertheless has the impression that the hero is guilty and besides he feels guilty, in what finally it is a book more optimistic than I thought it. In general the guilt feeling is so absurd that it is inversely proportional to the real culpability. I note it in the life of tous.les.jours: there are two kinds of people, those which have a complex of culpability and the others.
Generally, those which have a complex of culpability did not really do anything of low register while those which would have a good reason to make feel guilty are the quiet aware it is perhaps because the guilt feeling is "permeable": one would inherit the culpability of others thus, which would explain why I feel so guilty whereas my most serious actions are not quite black but it is right an assumption that I venture.
tragic design !
Isn't this appropriation of the book by
the readers also a risk of loss of oneself?
- It is a reaction which I
include/understand. It is difficult to be put in its skin, but one can imagine extreme
hatred that it R essent and who explains, precisely, this inertia. It arrived to me,
fortunately not too often, to hate certain people à.fond and when I was in their presence
I remained fixed. There is only in the moments of anger which I am capable of a word, for
the blow, terrible, but these moments of anger are rare and short. apart from these
moments hatred returns to me passivates, because it is a so destroying feeling which it
even destroys me me.
- I did not realize there... indeed, when
I feel something of harmful towards somebody, I tend to turn over it against me that
explains the violence of my angers, where all re-appears; there I will be able to kill
somebody in these moments thanks to the writing, I succeeded in channeling this violence,
but go account: the interior enemy was born in me when I was twelve years old and I
started to write only at seventeen years; that wants to say that between the two,
nevertheless four years ago and half without this discharge system and I can say to you
that they were atrocious years I wanted to destroy me by all the means, the first being
not to eat.
Photos : Richard Dumas / André Nicotra
Bibliography Amélie Nothomb
Amélie Nothomb Douglas Kennedy Eliette Abécassis Dai Sijie Marc Levy Bernard Werber Mary Higgins Clark
Amin Maalouf Salif Keïta Analyze : The tale
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