No doubt about it, everything about this novel feels like the 70s! From Paris to Saint-Tropez to Tunisia, Christophe Donner shares with us the most intimate moments of his riotous youth. The chronicle of this post-68 rebel French kid’s sexual awakening allows no room for indifference!
What does it mean to grow up in the 70’s for a kid whose parents are desperately seeking liberation from the misconceptions of a France in flux? His father’s main concern is his son’s sexual capacity; his mother, a psychiatrist, falls for every one of her patients. It is no wonder that Christophe Donner’s youth is marked with a yearning for emancipation from authority in all of its guises.
The short chapters that carry the vivid narration dig up abrupt sensations and emotional landscapes that drag young Christophe through a thrilling adventure of self-discovery. As the years pass, his thirst for experience will sharpen his view of the world – ambiguous as every truth.
By alternating the use of “I” and “he,” Donner looks at the young man he used to be with simultaneous distance and closeness, lucidity and tenderness. The portrait of young Christophe perfectly exemplifies the exhilarating and explosive period that defined France after 1968.
Donner’s brief, incisive, and empirical style brings us an honest novel that looks just like life… And what a life!
‘Ce qui valait aussi pour la famille, les études, la masturbation, tout devait me mener quelque part à condition que j’en sorte.’ It’s all said here!
L’Innocent, a novel by Christophe Donner, editions Grasset.