Original title: Les Bracassées
The first names of the two heroines in Marie-Sabine Roger’s novel are misleading, to say the least. 76-year-old Fleur is an obese woman who suffers from social phobia, meaning that she only ever goes out to see Doctor Borodine. And 26-year-old Harmonie has Tourette’s syndrome, meaning that she uses foul language and is beset by uncontrollable and violent spasms that can occur at any time.
One of them is looking for somebody to look after their dog, and the other wants to find a viable way of living. A few months later, they find themselves sharing an apartment, surrounded by a bunch of other ‘no-hopers’ who are as moving and as funny as our two heroines.
But although we may laugh at the misadventures of these no-hopers, we should be under no doubt that this is also a deeply political novel, in the best sense of that word. A positive vision of difference, the refusal to be afraid and the warmth of community.