Vous êtes nés à la bonne époque
« Je ne prétends pas que celles qui n’ont pas d’enfants sont des fleurs fanées, autour de moi je peux citer vingt noms de femmes qui s’épanouissent en dehors de la maternité, simplement moi si je n’ai pas mon deuxième, je peux examiner la question sous toutes les coutures, je dois admettre que ma vie perdrait son sens, c’est clair, ça, au moins ? »
Nathalie, médecin quadragénaire, rencontre Arno, un jeune peintre de vingt ans son cadet. Des deux côtés, coup de foudre. Entre petits boulots et crise du logement, il tente de vivre de son art. Dans un superbe appartement parisien que son insolente réussite professionnelle lui a permis de s’offrir, elle rêve d’un deuxième enfant. Ils ne vont plus se quitter, alors que tout les sépare. Presque tout.
Born at the Right Time
Aged forty-two, Nathalie Dumont lives in the Bastille neighbourhood of Paris in a huge, magnificent apartment that her outrageous professional success allowed her to buy. She is the doting mother of a young woman of twenty-two, Charlotte.
In the early autumn of 2009, however, Nathalie is having the worst period of upheaval of her life. Charlotte has moved away to California so she can put her skills to use in the lucrative green economy. What’s more, having discovered he was shamelessly cheating on her, Nathalie has dismissed Alain, the man she has shared her life with for ten years. The break-up is all the more painful because Nathalie was hoping that with him she could conceive the second child she longs for with undiminished fervour, despite the passing years.
At a private view, she meets Arno – Arno Genic. She’s instantly captivated. He is twenty years old, exhibiting his first paintings. Lurching from one temporary job and one housing crisis to another, he struggles to live by his art. That evening he pays no attention to the flurry of right-on female admirers that always gravitates around him, for he has eyes only for Nathalie.
They see each other again, they like each other.
At first Nathalie fights against this mutual thunderbolt. Only, every hour she spends with him is rapture. In her topsy-turvy life, Nathalie finds nothing more comforting that the long conversations she has with the man who will soon be her lover. She is bowled over by this young man’s innate goodness, his sparkling intelligence and his unusual humour.
Something beyond words binds them together, something on a level of pure sensation; a spontaneous intimacy, which draws on obscure reminiscences emerging from a long-buried past, at the very limits of their souls…
What irresistible force draws them towards each other like this?
Matthieu Jung lives in Paris. He is the author of La Vague à l’âme (2007) and Principe de précaution, published by Stock in 2009.