Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Anna Platt with great crashes

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NOTou fall, funny title. The narrators of each of the five parts of the novel by Swedish Anna Platt born in 1977 actually fall from their dream or into a dream, but it is always a fall, with its charm, too, because the book, after all , do not lack joy. It begins with a plane that crashes and all the characters do the same in their own way, the novel telling the trajectories modified or revealed by the accident of various inhabitants. “We are crashing,” he could have called himself. It’s the pilot’s marriage that suffered this spell in the first part. “We have stopped talking to each other. / Her dreams were no longer mine. / After that, I think we didn’t even have any more dreams at all. Only time. ” The narrator of the second part believes “To be in a thousand pieces” after a heartache and realizes various things. “There’s nothing worse than touching your dream and then losing it. […] I’m sinking into an ocean of loneliness. ” Another, an old gentleman who has lived in a sort of threesome to which he has not given full reality, is satisfied with his dreamlike nature, which is sad or cheerful depending on the idea that one has of life . “Our parallel existence, with Stina and me, is of such a dizzying perfection that I am happy not to know this life. Because you can’t disturb a dream. ” At the end, when a rare bird appears for its happiness: “We live in a world full of disappointed dreamers. / I am not one of those. “ The young motherless swimmer from the last part of the text quotes the skier Ingemar Stenmark and the actor Bruce Lee, then Walt Disney: “Keep your dreams deep inside, and one day they will come true.” “One day, I too will write a nice quote”, she comments as if that was her greatest ambition. She will do better than that.

The heroine of part three is a woman who is loved and then beaten (“The hands that caressed and the hands that clapped. They were the same “), then sick, whom her daughter whom she would like to see again abandoned by calling social assistance herself. It’s in the store one day when it’s crowded and the man in front of it has forgotten its wallet “He is a father with his daughter and the father shouts and yells at the cashier as if it was his fault that he cannot pay. The cashier makes me sad, I know that feeling when someone finds that you are doing something wrong, when in reality you are only applying the rules. It wasn’t the cashier who decided how it worked here in this world. “ She talks about her child daughter, so cute, that the reader has already seen in the first part, and how she thought she should educate him: “I had read in a review that people smile more at cute children. Because of that cute kids grow up believing that everyone wants them good. I made an effort not to smile too much at him. Just to keep her from being disappointed when she realizes what it really is. “ But the cute child had other dreams: “Mom, when I grow up I will be an airplane builder. And then I’ll build one for you and me. And we’ll fly to an island in the middle of the ocean and there we’ll eat cakes and play together all the time. No one else will be allowed to come. “ We will know under what circumstances the father ceased to be part of history. And where does that scar on the face from the second page of the book come from. “In this scar, all the time has passed and all the sorrow that has separated us.”

“What do you call an ornithologist who likes to watch cranes mating?” The joke is intended for the old bird lover whose most beautiful love story has been preserved from a sexuality usually so sought after, and the answer is paradoxically: “An orgithologist!” For her part, the woman who never ceases to suffer from her heartache discovers new physical links. “At night, I don’t sleep anymore. It’s too hot and I have phantom pains. The skin against the skin that is no longer there hurts me. ” There are also more joyful imaginary physical relationships. The young swimmer in a tracksuit on the bus where everyone is singing. “I love being with others. As if we were one big person. A happy person with long legs, blond hair, a pretty voice, and a mom who is still alive. ” “We dive”, she said after that “The start signal is given”. It will hit the bottom of the pool for good and it will go back up.

Mathieu Lindon

Anna Platt We are falling Translated from the Swedish by Hélène Hervieu. Gallimard, “From around the world”, 284 pp., € 22 (ebook: € 15.99).

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