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Still Alive (Encore vivant)



Original Language: French | 288 pp. | August 2017

2 Seas represents: Dutch, Nordic, and North American rights.


(Le Rouergue)

He had sworn never to return to the psychiatric hospital. But the narrator has only just got married to a girl from Parisian high society and found himself a job as a journalist when he suffers another bout of manic depression and is carted back off to a psychiatric hospital. When this first happened to him at the age of twenty, he was diagnosed as bipolar. And so he once again finds himself among the ‘loony’ paranoid types, the alcoholics and the poor and downtrodden, among them François, James, Matthias and Pounévelle whose terrifying yet sometimes funny portraits he paints for us. This autobiographical narrative from Pierre Souchon is full of both rage and humour, bringing out the profoundly human nature of each character. It is rare to read something so powerful about psychiatric illness and its ravages, as experienced from the inside. The writing is flamboyant, there is a real feel for drama and dialogue, and the tone and attitude are steeped in rage.

Pierre Souchon, 35, is a journalist at Le Monde diplomatique and L’Humanité. Originally from the Ardèche, he has poached in rivers and among the grande bourgeoisie, hunted thrushes and frequented a number of hospitals. Encore vivant is his first novel.