Gabriel Byrne, Félicité Herzog, Hersh Smolar… Brief reviews of the literary season

Four history essays, some of whose authors are present at the Rendez-vous de l’histoire, in Blois from October 5 to 9, a novel, memoirs, a thriller, a children’s book… Here are the brief reviews of eight notable works of the literary season in this thirty-ninth week of the year.

Memories. My Ghosts and Me by Gabriel Byrne

He acted in nearly 80 films, works as significant asexcaliburby John Boorman (1981), or usual suspects, by Bryan Singer (1995). In series too (he is the psychotherapist of the American version ofin therapy, 2008-2010). However, reading his memoirs, he is a man of the text, an author with an incisive and very confident pen, which we discover in Gabriel Byrne. With poignant sensitivity, Byrne describes his modest Irish family, his sickly shyness, his introverted childhood, the call of the priesthood, the bitter failures of his early life, the depression, all the “ghosts” that have haunted him since his birth in Dublin in 1950. Particularly brilliant: the pages on the saving power of fiction. Opening a book is like stepping onto a stage at the beginning of a play, “enter a dream where time is modified by the imagination”. We leave deeply moved by this confession put under the sign of the poet Percy Shelley (1792-1822): “Don’t fear the future, and don’t mourn the past. » A verse repeated by little Byrne’s mother, who would also have liked to be an actress. Fl.N.

“My phantoms and me” (Walking With Ghosts), by Gabriel Byrne, translated from English (Ireland) by Diane Meur, Sabine Wespieser, 290 p., €22, digital €16.

Narrative. “A Brief Liberation” by Félicité Herzog

Barely ten years ago, Félicité Herzog had published a beautiful, slightly cruel and even slightly crude book about her father, the mountaineer and minister of General de Gaulle, Maurice Herzog: A hero (Grasset, 2012). The irony of the title then is found in that of today’s novel, a short statementthat in a certain way prolongs the settling of family scores, focusing this time on the figure of the mother, Marie-Pierre de Cossé-Brissac… And it is fascinating, because the real story of this authentic heroine overlaps the one that, made of shadows and lights, guilt and fog, from 20th century Franceme century. It is, then, the fate of a French woman who has the courage to free herself from the prejudices of her family, she expresses very soon her desire for independence and will have the audacity – crazy about her origin – to want to marry with a young man. Jew, Simon Nora (her first husband, before Maurice Herzog), whose novel recounts in detail the glorious course of the resistance… If one may sometimes find the course a bit demonstrative, the story nevertheless has the force , often moving, in a voice that speaks without tremors of this past of war and love: Félicité Herzog faces the torments of a largely compromised ancestry with singular courage, and a pen that is not without arrogance. F.Ga

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