Dans ma peau
“In My Skin is a text whose roots lie in the early days of the Twentieth Century, a time when men wore moustaches and women wide-brimmed hats, when backfiring automobiles frightened the horses on major thoroughfares. Amidst the violence of a war that spawned an entirely new fury, a whole world collapsed and all we have left of it are a few distorted echoes and wavering images that we no longer understand. I know that war well: I am Director of the Museum of the Great War in Péronne, in the Somme, at the very heart of the First World War battlefields, where British and Commonwealth troops confronted the Germans from 1914 to 1918. And I experience the harsh realities of old-style warfare physically, with my own body; for the last four years I have had an illness that has no name but makes my every move painful and difficult, so that I no longer have a moment’s peace or proper rest. I sometimes feel so close to those for who I claim to bear witness that I share in the suffering of these long-dead men, my own horizon is constantly shattered by internal explosions. The objects I live alongside, impeccable uniforms stowed in the museum’s stores, guns as well as wristwatches, daggers as well as clumpy boots… they all resonate with slumbering violence that I think I feel with every passing moment. This is what I am trying to express and put in writing; and the interest I take in myself would be different if it were not the result of my experiences at the museum, if it did not derive chiefly from an empathy for people who have suffered more than me.”
Guillaume de Fonclare
This poignantly beautiful and heartfelt account carries within it a powerful lust for life brought face to face with daily physical pain. It is also a humanist book, identifying with those who have been struck to the core by the violence of war.
Guillaume de Fonclare was born in Pau in 1968 and spent his childhood in Combovin, a small village in the Drôme region, until 1973 when his family moved to Lambesc near Aix-en-Provence. Since January 2006 he has directed the Museum of the Great War in Péronne (Somme). He is married with two children. In My Skin is his first book.