Anne Berest’s literary cafe


Author Anne Berest succeeds Delphine Horvilleur in this second episode lending herself to the interview game.

Do you have an unmentionable read?
Today I confess all my pleasures. On the other hand, this question reminded me that I had unmentionable reading as a child. I associate these memories with vacation homes of my parents’ friends where comics were around. These comics showed sensual images that fascinated me and I read them secretly. They were unmentionable readings. I brought one from Nine Antico, Coney Island Baby. They are images and novels. When I dive into it, it’s like a cupcake. It is a book with very sensual images, a very feminist approach to the question of the representation of female nudity in the United States and in cinema. And while I was reading it, I remember that childhood thrill of immersing myself in those images that were always… The graphic novel is also literature. Immerse myself in it and find this emotion like a madeleine of an unmentionable reading. Although today, of course, I admit it.

New Old, Coney Island Baby. Ed. The association, Ciboulette Collection.

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What is your night book, your current reading?
I’m reading Only Hope Soothes Pain right now and it’s actually the transcript of interviews that Simone Veil did in 2006 for the Shoah Remembrance Foundation. These interviews lasted three hours. This book, then, includes two very beautiful prefaces, prefaces by these children who say they discovered these archives and were overwhelmed by them. Then a very nice foreword by Dominique Missika. Dominique Missika says: “And when the witnesses of the witnesses of which I am a part disappear, what place will the Shoah occupy? How to pass the baton of memory to the younger generations? This book is a way of telling how to pass on the memory to the younger generations. Never stop reading and re-reading the testimonies of survivors. This is truly my night book. You see, I…

Simone Veil, Only hope soothes the pain. Ed. Flammarion

Highlight and annotate your books… Is this something you do often?
Yes, I think books are fine with annotations. And when I leave the books I read a long time ago and see which sentences I highlighted and underlined at the time, I say to myself: “Why did I choose this sentence? »

What text marked your life?
When I wrote The Postcard, I had to immerse myself in Yiddish culture. And then I discovered two authors I didn’t know, but who were like continents, which are the Singer brothers. Here is a book by Israel Singer and his brother who was also a writer, Isaac. And here is the story of the Ashkenazi brothers. It’s the story of two brothers who live in Łódź, Poland, like me, because my family came from Łódź. So I immersed myself in this book to try to find the flavors, the language. You will discover a kind of Yiddish Balzac, but you have no idea how extraordinary it is. It is truly a literary continent. Israel, died quite young of the two brothers, at 44, I think. And so his brother, he continued to write and he wrote in Yiddish and his brother received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 78. I advise you to find, to go on the Internet, you will find it easily, the receipt of the speech of Nobel. Isaac Literature Prize. And then… He gives a speech where he explains how the Yiddish language is a language made for literature. But it’s fun, really, you’ll cry laughing. Don’t expect to laugh when you hear a Nobel acceptance speech, and yes!

Israel Joshua Singer. The Ashkenazi brothers. Ed. Pocket book

What book do you like to give as a gift?
This is a psychology book that I myself have helped and therefore I offer often, telling myself if this book has helped me, then it can help others. They are the work of a psychology academic named Nathalie Zajde, who works in ethnopsychiatry and who created the first support in France for Holocaust survivors and their children. He worked on what this trauma is and what will be inherited later to the children and grandchildren. And so, this one is called Hidden Children in France, it talks about cases. There are other books in this collection, e.g children of survivors i Holocaust healing which are books for me that, when I write postcard, in which he told me: “Ah yes, this, I recognize myself, that I understand, this helps me. ” Here it is. And so, as soon as I meet people of my generation, we are the third generation after the survivors. And often, I offer this book saying: “It helped me, maybe you too. »

Nathalie Zadjé, Children hidden in France, Children of survivors i Holocaust healing. Ed. Odile Jabob

Which of your books changed everything?
postcard, which was published in its paperback version. We also see on the cover of this edition the authentic postcard that my mother received. You also have the photo of Noémie, my grandmother’s sister, who was deported in 1942. This book changed something in my life, in several places. First of all, it is the book that introduced me the most, a huge success. So, obviously, in a writer’s life, knowing success changes something. And with this book something happened that overwhelmed me and… I said to myself this is my country as a writer, I had been looking for it for a long time, I was drawing it and now I have found it. It starts from me, from my past, from something very precise, from the lives of very special people and that by being very fair, we later manage to touch the hearts of others.

Anne Berest. postcard Ed. rustic

Source : Le JDD

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