mercredi 22 juillet 2009

Leaving the world


Another post about Douglas Kennedy? OK, I’ll do it short and simple because while we are reading that he is the most French among American authors, that he persists in writing 1000 words a day, that the Americans shun his novels (the Europeans know why…), that he is a wonderful storyteller, it would be a waste of time not to read it. And it would be such a pity to ignore this writer.

When you open a book signed “Douglas Kennedy”, you know that you’re going to leave for a long long travel. Pages will become months or years. If you read a book by Douglas Kennedy, you’ll agree to take part in an odyssey, a human and geographical odyssey. What’s a " human odyssey "? I don’t know but I have no other word to speak about his stories. Douglas Kennedy has no need to be related. Just read it. You will find great delight in reading him!

Odyssey, I said, because you travel across the United States, then you go to Canada or in Berlin and its intellectual districts, always discovering a part of the culture. Kennedy does not only indicate that people are different according to the place, he points and goes as far as denouncing facts (to find faults with the American system, it seems sometimes to be his hobby, - which sometimes appears to be one of his pet subjects).

Odyssey… because you meet happiness, and happiness is always so fragile, and tragedies, always very disastrous but that's right: Douglas Kennedy, it is dramas and misfortune on every page but told there brilliantly (in such a brilliant way!) and after such a book, we always have to take a second look at our own life.

But I think you understood: I am a fan, a real groupie. I have all his books and all i need now is the T-shirt " I love Douglas Kennedy! " Then to be objective with him, I can’t " Why, mom, do you always say ‘yeaaaaahhhh!!!!’ when you see Douglas on television?”, asks my 8 years old daughter. Good question: why?
Do you think we always need a good reason to love? Of course not and nevertheless, reasons, I have thousands.

Because of his style? Yes, it’s great but never written pompously.

Because he often hits the bull’s-eye? Yes, when he paints the psychology of his characters even better than the settings in which they live.

Because he is cultivated? Sure!

Because his plots are so elaborated they make us go " waw! "? Exact!

Because he might be the only man in the world able to speak about maternity like that? Yes, he made me cry…

Because when we are in the heart of his "tragedies", we shiver? Yes but this passage especially, I cannot speak about it.

Because having read one of his books, we always consider the possibility of stopping cigarettes? I admit: yes (there’s always one of the characters who smokes like a chimney and who catches a cancer)

Because he ‘rocks’ some truths right in the face? Slaps sometimes (but I shall not say more about it.)
Yes why this book in particular? Tricky question: I don’t want to reveal anything.

Well, in a few words: the story takes place in the university circles in the USA, then in a library in Canada. The heroine, Jane, shares with us during almost all the book her passion for famous Anglo-Saxon authors, with, it seems, a preference for Emily Dickinson and Samuel Beckett, repeating this sentence “L’Innomable” : “It is necessary to continue, I cannot continue, I am going to continue.” To continue thus, it is the watchword of this novel where, nevertheless, everything compels to give up. To have an idea of the plot, you should have a look at the summary, but certainly not thinking that all the story is told. It’s signed “Douglas Kennedy”, don’t forget and let yourself be caught in it.


On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents – she would never get married and she would never have children. But life, as Jane comes to discover, is a profoundly random business. Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then Jane falls pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise – but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world.Just when she has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for some sort of personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision – stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth…

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