Breaking The Spell
“When I was six, my uncle Benoît committed suicide. He was beautiful. He was alive and childlike because he was also mad. My mother married a psychiatrist who gave her three children, but failed to save her brother. They divorced straight afterwards and my mother died too, or at least she died in my eyes: Viviane had almost the same voice, the same face, the same name, the same gestures, but this woman looking after us was not my mum.
I am a mother myself now, I have children, I am the age my mother was at the time, and my brother is Benoît’s age. Benoît has been haunting my dreams for more than a year now, telling me he feels cold. In Madagascar, where my mother grew up, this means that the turning of the bones needs to happen. Their bodies have to be dug up and subjected to a series of rites to drive out the part of them that did not die with them. To stop their curse afflicting us, stop history repeating itself, to break the spell.”
Secrets and unspoken words are perpetuated in the family, reinforced by Benoît’s suicide. It is only by exploring the past, by disentangling each thread and by putting words on what had been kept hidden or untold, that each will be able to appropriate again his family history and find, at last, his own place.
Amanda Sthers writes novels, plays and screenplays. Her work has been translated into nearly a dozen languages, and she won exceptional widespread acclaim for Le Vieux Juif blonde (2006). This success was compounded with Madeleine in 2007, then Les Terres saintes (Stock, 2010). Breaking the Spell is her seventh novel.