Original title: La vraie vie
A funny, acerbic coming-of-age debut novel
A Suburban Reality
The Demo is an estate like all the others – or almost. The bungalows are lined up like tombstones. At home there are four rooms: one for her, one for her brother, one for the parents – and one for the corpses. Her father is a big game hunter. A powerful predator. The mother is fragile, a trembling amoeba, submissive to her husband’s moods. The young narrator tries to overcome the daily grind with her brother, Gilles, and they play in the shells of cars dumped for scrap, and listen out for the chimes of the ice cream van. When a brutal accident shatters the present, nothing is ever the same again.
The World Turned Upside Down
Gilles stops laughing from that day on. The vision of what happened seems to have been frozen in his mind’s eye. The evil that stalks the streets and through their home is reflected in the glass eyes of the stuffed hyena and the father’s actions – and it gradually takes over. The young narrator longs to wipe out everything, go back to life as it once was, and to find Gilles who animated their world. This new life is but a pale imitation of the one they had known, the real one – all in colour. Finally, just like a modern day warrior, she rolls up her sleeves and throws herself into into the maw of existence. She creates diversions, ducks and dives, and grows into a young woman, all the while holding on to the hope that all will be well one day.
The Poetry of Nightmares
Real Life is a dramatic coming-of-age novel in which reality and illusion oscillate. The funny, acerbic and uncompromising pen of Adeline Dieudonné creates flashes of brilliance. She brings to life wild, three-dimensional characters, and a world that is both dark and sensual, and which makes its mark.