Originally published as "Les Noces Barbares" and winner of the 1985 Prix Goncourt, this novel centres on the intense and disturbing relationship between a mother and her son, born as the result of a brutal rape when she was a young girl. Other works include "Le Charme Noir" and "Bela Bartok".
Text: English, French (translation)From Publishers Weekly :
The calculated gang rape of a French teenager by three American soldiers based in a seacoast town at the end of World War IIthis is Nicole's nightmarish "wedding." Winner of the Prix Goncourt, the novel counterpoints the sane against the insane, indicating how a society viciously misapplies the terms. Despised now and pregnant, Nicole vainly tries to abort the child whose father she cannot know. From his birth, Ludovic, contemptuously named for the mad Bavarian king, receives the brunt of Nicole's hatred. He is cooped up in an attic, whose walls he decorates with bizarre murals that reveal his artistic gift and his adoration for his mother. The author characterizes Nicole without nuance; her rigid, unexamined cruelty to Ludo for the next 16 years is the novel's major flaw. Micho, the gentle musician/mechanic whom Nicole marries, yields to her demands to put the boy in a mental home. With the account of this enchanted forest institution, where retarded "sleeping beauties" are controlled with prayers and Valium, the novel improves. Ludo's escape, his months of refuge in the rusting hulk of a derelict ship, and his inevitable, stunning encounter with Nichole reveal Queffelec at his powerful best.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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