With “Twilight”, Philippe Claudel unfolds the spectrum of human passions


An isolated village on the border of a country whose flag bears a golden crescent. Endless winter is here “a death that repeats itself every day”. Death, precisely, comes to disrupt the “rough and primal” day-to-day life of the sad community: its priest is lying in the snow, his skull smashed with stones. For Inspector Nourio, crime seems like a gift from God. “It was in every way fabulous for him to have such an adventure, in this moron of the world, in this place abandoned by all fantasy, by all the grains of sand, wrapped up in ordinary days. » Flanked by his deputy, “large ruminant” whose physique collides with that of “dented rodent” from his superior, Nourio intends to make the investigation last, to stretch it like a rubber band, to play with it to the breaking point.

Imaginations are on fire

At the side of the deceased’s bed are gathered the authorities of the corner. The splattered and crumbled bishop, holding on “her silver ass like a child does with a candy cane”. the mayor, “the shyest of all men in town,” whose fortune had secured the election. The Imperial administration speaker most concerned about writing a novel “of the sea and pirates” that for the affairs of the province. And the imam, who was talking to priest Pernieg “the best relationships in the world”, although both representatives “religions that in these difficult times we often want to oppose.” Nourio is convinced: the death of the priest is only a prelude to the designs of the most powerful, and his funeral, the first act of desired exactions. Three days after the procession, an anonymous hand stains the doors of the minority Muslim community with pig’s blood.

Imaginations ignite like pyres that, soon, are no longer mere metaphors

Act of revenge or reaction to “swirls”, “spirals” i “fumaroles” that, on the other side of the border, rise up and take “the supernatural dimension of a powerful, enthusiastic and promising activity, of a passionate use of the world, full of hope, or of military maneuvers”? Imaginations ignite like bonfires that, soon, will cease to be simple metaphors. The shadowy people wake in blood and hatred, sensing the abyss near, “enormous and unfathomable” . “Human beings love times of possible disasters, which give value both to their miserable existence and to a violent pepper whose consequences they do not yet know what they will be made of. »

A meditation on our excesses

In the heart of a province of tales and legends, Philippe Claudel ignites human passions that are not legendary. None of his characters keep up with their neighbor, everyone knows that “filthy from a fault or failure, a sin or error, an impure desire, an impure thought.” Nourio himself, unable to do so “controlling his torrents of humor,”perhaps too quick to rejoice in a crime that, as the pages turn, has nothing to do with a pastime anymore. Cathartic, Pernieg’s murder awakens the ghosts of a past that the collective imagination has glorified and opposes it with a broken present, in which Twilight unfolds its plot. If he relishes the twists and turns and exuberant language, the reader will also be able to read between the lines a meditation on our excesses, our doubts and our contemporary aberrations.

Source : Le JDD

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