Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's coming! It's coming!

What do you mean, what's coming?!? La rentrée, of course, the glorious return from vacation! I can hear its humming approaching from far away, little by little, gaining in force and nerve: right now, when I was finally beginning to resign myself with living a life of humble austerity and wise meditation on the moral benefits of solitude!!!

And if it's the rentrée, it calls for an entire ritual that merrily begins with the traffic jams at the cities gates. It is useless to say that everyone in here knows perfectly well that everyone else will be back from vacation pretty much the same day and the same time, it won't even cross someone's mind to return earlier in order to avoid the rush! I'm sure they regard traffic jams like an addicted smoker regards lung cancer: it will touch everyone else but me! In the end, who cares what others are doing, right? Every French believes in the divine right at vacation the gods have blessed them with and they count on squeezing it until the last possible drop.

 Here goes the looong lines of cars, radios on, every station in the country commenting the rentrée littéraire (book editors have the right to take their summer vacation like everyone else!) and the umpteenth novel of the prodigious Amélie Nothomb, who makes a point of honor in delivering a new book every single rentrée since 1994. What endurance! (or literary bulimia, if you ask her detractors...).
Hang on, because the fierce debate and speculations about this year's winners of the literary prizes is once again fought (the winners are to be chosen from 400+ French writers, there are 646 new novels this autumn, French or foreign). I wonder how those critics make time to read everything!...

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