Elle n’a que quatorze ans, mais n’hésite pas à se vieillir pour se présenter à un entretien d’embauche. Un jour, elle décide de rencontrer Merle, le patron qui a licencié son père, et lui demande de le reprendre dans son entreprise. Commence alors pour l’adolescente une randonnée périlleuse et hallucinatoire, où elle va devoir se confronter à une troublante réalité. Jeanne se méfie de ses émotions, elle doit toujours vérifier qu’elle ne rêve pas. Elle compte, fait des listes, se livre à des rituels d’autopunition. Elle aussi veut être héroïque.
Since her father became unemployed, Jeanne Kacer has had one objective: to give him back his dignity. As far as she is concerned, he is the bravest man in the world, as courageous as those resistance fighters that are hunted by the Gestapo in her favorite film, L’Armée des ombres. Her father is a hero, and certainly not this drunken man that she caught a glimpse of, lying in a van abandoned on a piece of waste ground. She must forget this vision, fend off the shame and the humiliation. Jeanne wants to be a respected French citizen.
Only fourteen, Jeanne makes herself look older to attend a job interview. When she meets Merle, her father’s former boss, she asks him to take him back. This is the start of a perilous and hallucinatory journey where the young girl faces an unsettling reality. Jeanne does not trust her own emotions, she continuously checks herself, makes sure she is not dreaming. She counts, draws lists, goes through rituals of self-punishment. She also wants to be a hero.
Jeanne’s chilling visions and the enigmatic, changing personality of Merle give this first novel its enthralling rhythm and singular style. Héroïque is a human and social tragedy told with a tone black humour mastered to perfection by its author.
Iris Wong was born in 1977 in Toulon. She writes film scenarios and works as an assistant film director. Héroïque is her first novel.