A Life Without Oblivion

Original title: La vie privée d’oubli

Author: Pineau, Gisèle

Publication Date:

January 2024



Original language and publisher

French | Editions Philippe Rey

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Literary Fiction

A Life Without Oblivion

Original title: La vie privée d’oubli

Author: Pineau, Gisèle


Gisèle Pineau questions the possibility of living with the shadows of our ancestors.

The vibrant novel of generations marked by a common history of slavery.

Margy and Yaëlle have always lived in Guadeloupe. For these friends, almost sisters, everything has been shared since nursery – the first times with boys, the failed baccalaureate tests, the dances and outings at night, the dreams of a life as an artist, the violence of men and faith in their redemption.

When, at the request of her boyfriend Benja, Margy swallows around thirty pellets of cocaine and manages to land smoothly in France, she tells herself that it’s easy money, that it’s the hope for a better life. So why not enlist your friend in the business? Yaëlle sees it as an escape, far from Gwada and its past. But in the middle of the flight to Paris, she is seized by convulsions: the capsules rupture, one by one, spreading the poison throughout her body.

Other women before her joined Paris. There is Annette, her aunt, who fled very early in the hope of burying a shameful secret. Joycy, a young Nigerian woman who escaped from prostitution networks, yearns for a second chance. And Maya, a mixed-race student who seeks to know the origins of her father. What if the link between all these women was their common ancestor Agontimé, torn from her African native land by slavery? Agontimé, whose voice resonates in Yaëlle’s mind when she is plunged into a coma which will allow her to survive the overdose.

A strong and universal statement, served by a captivating narration. Between Guadeloupe and France, Gisèle Pineau features characters marked by a painful history, united by a common past and future.

A masterful novel in which the lives of women and men linked by an invisible legacy of pain are woven. A Life without Oblivion analyzes the consequences of the trauma of previous generations on subsequent generations. It raises the question of the weight of heritage and the place for self-determination in our lives. By exploring the places of intimate and collective memory in the unfolding of our lives, Gisèle Pineau questions: how can we heal the wounds of another age? Thus, imposing her style, she continues her work of exploring the condition of women: their dreams, their suffering. A unique work.