Le Voyage dans l’Est by Christine Angot
Camille Laurens – yes, the fiery writer who sparked controversy this literary season, especially since she is one of the best literary critics of our time – confided to journalist Laure Adler: “Like Marcel Proust, I think that one always writes the same book.”
This statement also applies to Christine Angot, who offers us her strongest, most moving, and relentless work to date. After L’Inceste and Un amour impossible (both available in English translation with Archipelago Books), you already know what is at the heart of this novel. And yet, once you start reading, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to stop. And therein lies Angot’s strength as an exceptional writer. She doesn’t need to grab the reader’s attention by relying on suspense, superfluous statements, or ready-made lines that read like advertising slogans: her powerful sentences and strong point of view are enough to draw us in. If we think we already know all the facts, we discover another facet of the story through each of her books.
Le Voyage de l’Est focuses on Angot’s inner circle – in particular, those who knew of her abuse, which started in her childhood and continued into adulthood, and failed to intervene. It’s not a question of seeking revenge or settling a score. Rather, Le Voyage dans l’Est seeks to understand how a victim of incest finds oneself in such a state of loneliness, and why those closest to her remain silent and inactive. (Is it out of terror? Fear?)
If you haven’t read Angot, read Le Voyage dans l’Est. And if you’ve already read her previous books, read Le Voyage dans l’Est. Don’t miss out on maybe the greatest work of fiction published this season.
Le Voyage dans l’Est by Christine Angot, Flammarion
Short listed for Le Prix Goncourt, 2021.
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