Dear Virginie Despentes, know that neither Dostoyevsky nor Genet is wanted

French author Virginie Despentes speaks to the press upon her arrival at the Drouant restaurant in Paris before the announcement of the winner of the French literary prize, the Goncourt prize, on November 4, 2019.

It is good to follow its slope as long as it goes up. Gide says of one of his characters in ” Fakes. For my part, I immersed myself; what am I saying: I lost myself in the new novel by Virginie Despentes: Dear asshole “. All schuss, then, I went down (instead of going up) on my slope, as it should be. You say to me: “Why do you impose such a cleaning on yourself. You know where you put your buttocks: Telerama praised the “author” and, in Marianne, Éric Naullau dresses the “writer” for winter. You can’t say we didn’t warn you. Too bad for you if you have enough knowledge to buy this supposed literary object. »

Yes, but now, unfairly warned, surely out of snobbery, I haven’t read “Despentes”. So it seems more honest to me in the dauber who knows. Also, a columnist I admire praised Virginie’s novel. So I threw myself back into the adventure.

I couldn’t bring myself to go into a bookstore to get the thing, my son that I was embarrassed to send. He returned elated, welcomed as a hero by the booksellers: “Did you read that, young man? that therefore speaking to you as we do who are old enough to be your mothers. You will enjoy it: he has great writing and speaks to all generations. Great read. When, on his return, he presented me with the corpus delicti and told me sarcastically about the words of the booksellers, I really thought: “What am I going to do with this mess.” »

To say everything that I think is good, I will start with the interview given by the rebellious “author” Telerama : “Feminisms, addictions, aging… With as much bite as ever, the writer explores the subjects that bring him. Ready, once again, to turn the table. »Bad! ” Dear asshole “is the event of the literary season 2022.” Well my friends, I feel this is good, this time of literature! “A deeply meditative fiction in which the writer emphasizes the dialogue written by two characters: Rebecca, a flamboyant actress in her fifties, and her younger brother, Oscar, a once-promising writer (…) In their exchanges comes interference (…) Zoé , a young woman who was once harassed by Oscar, is now a hyperactive feminist activist on the internet and social networks. Everything in this small world exchanges in the worst horrors to bring them closer and save their lives, in the end. Amazing.

Virginie herself said it best: “Not much happens in this novel. » His strength Telerama added: “But it says a lot about our contemporary world, its violence, its injustices and, in the face of it, the disorder of the individual. “Well my nephew!

I will give you an overview. Men are pigs: “Stopping us is the task of the soldierspatriarchy. They are afraid, if we are left to enjoy peace for the order of the world as they built it. »

Old age is ugly: the woman will find herself on the floor, especially if she had the misfortune of becoming a famous actress, young and beautiful before. ” During thefor years I was this slim body, this casual, regal attitude, indifferent. And gradually my face will beborn dry, my empty sight, my complexionangry “. The patriarchal white men then throw him like a Kleenex into which they blow their noses a lot. I want to be curious, by the way, to know what Fanny Ardant, 73, who is very demanding, thinks about this: ” Young peoplelovers “by Carine Tardieu in February 2022 and in August 2022” The green shutters by Jean Becker with Gérard Depardieu. For the inevitable ugly old woman who never looked back, you come back, Virginie.

Drugs are not good, but they are very good: ” Even before feeling destabilized, in fact, I’m already looking for what I can get, which will make the day more interesting. This is my medicine against boredom, against shame, against shame, against sadness, it ismy way to celebrate happy events, to relax, to find inspiration, to get away from nostalgia. » The sentence noted here is one of the most used in the novel, say it!

Dear asshole », so it’s 344 pages of consensual porridge, a big soup where scattered words float like spongy croutons. Virginie is a natural: she writes as she speaks and is not afraid of the few words she allows to live their best life. They married each other as they wished, in ethereal phrases. “Dick”, “pussy”, “tits”, “my hand on your face”, “We need to teach our girls to be proud of their blowjobs”, “boy, keep up your excuses, keep up your monologue” , “a good man is a man that my brothers don’t dare to piss off. “,” Some have told me that they became feminists by reading my publications, and that makes me strange. , brothel. »

What Virginie says about being high is exactly what I felt, harshly, when reading her novel: ” Getting high is a serious game (like reading ” Dear asshole “). You have to want to break all of your identities. ongender, class, religion, race. And you, what you want on the contrary, is to keep what little respect you have. »

I was toldyou can see, there are accents of Zola, Dostoyevsky, even Genet. I’m still looking for them. In fact, they, too, said all the ugliness in the world but, talented alchemists, they changed clay into gold with their pen. Genet, for example, in The tightrope walker wrote for his young lover Abdallah. He instructs her, to practice her art, to overdo it to make herself disturbing, androgynous. This has nothing to do with Despentes’ poor prose: Male or female? It’s really a monster. Instead,that to aggravate the uniqueness of such an exercise the makeup weakens it: it is clearer that one who is decorated, painted, painted, in the end, walks there, without a pendulum, where there is no idea to go to the tiles . or notaries. Closer to home, Hervé Guibert, without a certain beauty of writing, describes his bad life and the ravages of AIDS. But in Virginie, the mud became a cesspool.

If the lack of Despentes’s writing is evident (I am not even talking about the topics explored in a novel where the protagonists look contentedly at their sad navels), it does not give a little, we must admit, a snapshot of our times. universe. In this sense, it must be admitted, our time has found his pen.

Virginie writes the world as it goes: it shits, it stinks, we congratulate each other, we victimize ourselves, we scream, we vomit. We are at the end of civilization, at the end of a cycle.

Once again Yourcenar said it best, in his ” Memories of Hadrian : “Our letters have run out;our arts have fallen asleep; Pancrates is not Homer; Arrian is not Xenophon (…) our technical progress cannot withstand the ravages of long war; our colorful ones themselves are disgusted with happiness”.

Despentes is not Zola, nor Dostoïevski or Genet, alas. But he was nevertheless, and once again unfortunate, the writer of his time.

Isabelle Larmat, professor of Modern Literature

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