Writers' Monday with Eliette Abecassis
Talks about his book “Nos rendez-vous”, published by Grasset. Moderator: Baptiste Liger, editor in chief of Lire magazine.
It was while teaching philosophy, a subject she affectionately calls “the queen of disciplines”, that Eliette Abécassis discovered her desire to write novels. The new opus she came to present at Les Deux Magots, soberly entitled Nos rendez-vous, is a true love story that crosses the decades.
As a teenager, our guest was marked by The Name of the Rose, and the literary principle that its author Umberto Eco calls the “narrativity of knowledge”. Namely: to tell a breathtaking story while mixing the pleasure of erudition, a historical, scientific or philosophical context.
This principle served as a firm compass when writing his first novel Qumran, which addressed a series of ideas and thoughts – particularly those related to Judaism – that were very close to his heart, while at the same time being resolutely set in an esoteric thriller atmosphere. The manuscript was rejected by many publishers before it saw the light of day, and became a huge success translated into 23 languages.
Eliette Abécassis was able to tackle other genres, other tones, with notably Un heureux événement, adapted in 2011 to the cinema. This was a novel of daily life, very intimate, born of his own feelings but nourished by many testimonies of mothers collected during the writing phase.
As for Our Dates, it is assumed to be a love novel, despite the mawkish connotation that our era sometimes gives to this term. The story of Vincent and Amélie, of their meeting at the Sorbonne, of their missed appointment which will make them lose sight of each other for 10 years, of their reunion and of their respective evolutions during the thirty years that the novel covers.
Our dates is relatively short, despite its plot spanning the decades. Our guest did not want to write an 800-page fresco, but rather to tell the story concisely. Hence this work on ellipses, and this impression of time passing impregnating the pages.
The tone of the book is resolutely modest, dedicated to the unspoken and to feelings that are guessed rather than revealed, to the hands that touch each other as the only physical embrace.
Beyond an author, it is a true lover of words that we had the pleasure to receive. Albert Camus, Albert Cohen, Marguerite Duras, Françoise Sagan and Rainer Maria Rilke will be quoted during this meeting, accompanied by this dear wish: that literature remains a lively and popular passion, and not that of a bygone past.