2014. Romancière, Anne Berest se revêt « de la vie de Françoise pour oublier la sienne », et tisse sa jeune existence enlacée à celle de son aînée. Nous avons alors tout à la fois un roman, une biographie et une autofiction où, sous la plume merveilleuse d’Anne Berest, les vies de ces deux jeunes femmes n’en font plus qu’une. Et surtout, dans le miroir que vous tend le passé, le mythe Sagan rencontre l’éternelle jeunesse.
In 1954 Françoise Sagan was a girl of eighteen like any other, or nearly. A product of the chic plaine Monceau neighbourhood, with her unruly hair, Françoise went out, had fun and ate at Lipp with her friend Florence Malraux, but she also wrote, and with such precision. On 15th March 1954, the editor René Julliard, then head of the publishing house “à la mode”, published Sagan’s first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, and everything changed. Françoise became rich and famous, a night owl and a legend, a cult and public property. From Paulhan to Mauriac, from Blanchot to Bataille, men poured over this case of extraordinary precociousness, and perhaps we all missed the universal scope and latent pain of her words: “I wasn’t at an age when faithfulness was attractive. I didn’t know much about love: the dates, the kisses, the boredom.”
2014. As a novelist and a woman recovering from a painful relationship break-up, Anne Berest takes on “Françoise’s life in order to forget her own”, and tells the story of her own young life, interwoven with that of her older subject. True fiction, biography or auto-fiction? All three at once, and certainly a remarkable achievement. But also significantly an exploration of how, reflected in the mirror of the past, the Sagan myth comes face to face with eternal youth.
Anne Berest was born on the outskirts of Paris in 1979. She has written two critically acclaimed novels, La fille de son père (2010) and Les Patriarches (2012). She is also currently writing a book about Les parisiennes, the rights to which have already been sold to several countries.