“The first twenty-five years of our individual lives appear to me more like an expanding universe than a period of time unfurling. The constellations of people and places, and the distances that separate them, feel more important to me than dates. The actual time doesn’t deserve the importance it later assumes.
And yet it still passes. My aim of describing my first quarter-century runs from 1942 to 1967. From the most unlikely year of the Second World War to the most indecisive of the de Gaulle era, with the world lurching from the sort of pessimism than only nuclear weapons could inspire to an optimism fuelled by decolonisation, Vatican II and household electrical appliances. Through all this I took most pleasure in doing just what was expected of me: I loved all the houses I was made to live in, large or small, however nice they were and whatever distance apart they were. Distances, that was what I really liked. And the way distance changes your perception.”
How many writers have dreamed of undertaking a unique exploration of the first twenty-five years of their lives? How many readers have thought of it themselves?
This book demonstrates that everything really does happen during those years, a period of hesitation and yet it is a foundation, easily erased and yet indelible.
Georges-Noël Jeandrieu is the author of five novels: Le Suppléant (Grasset, 1976), Arnaud et les 26 démons de l’alphabet (Le Seuil, 1986), La Société Jupiter (Le Seuil, 1988), Les Successions amoureuses (Le Seuil, 1990) and Le Fiancé de la fille du chômeur (Fayard, 1995). He also wrote the essay Autoportrait en usager du métro (Stock, 2002).