The woman who does not speak has a lot to say, of course. Secret things, hidden deep inside herself. Insignificant things, maybe, yet things that burn internally.
There is a moment where one has to speak. It is a question of survival. Because the body progressively gives up, becomes thin and childish looking. Because all desires vanish. Because the people around, oblivious or powerless, look away.
The young woman is thirty. She feels she cannot continue to pretend; to carry on hating herself and keeping herself apart; to let life pass by her. If she does not do anything about it, she will become a woman of salt, a statue of marble. So she takes the story up again, this red line that connects the women: her grand-mother, her mother, her sister, her best friend. Generations of women who can only offer a flawed kind of love, a warped love. The young woman has inherited the same, insecure sense of femininity, which she carries like a burden. To try and understand, she searches deep, looks for the roots. In 1986, at the age of eleven, she leaves the golden realm of childhood and enters adolescence. Her body becomes heavy and unattractive, clumsy and viscous. Surrounded by women who do not like themselves, living in the shadow of a beautiful sister, she withdraws into depression. Books and writing become her refuge against the rule of silence; against the family that suffocates her more everyday. At eleven, she is seized by a fear that will not leave her alone.
Behind the women now loom the shadows of the men; the father one adores as a child and who does not take you in his arms anymore; love stories that turned sour. How does one become unlovable, even to oneself? To gently engage in conversation with those we care for may open a path forward; to write may be a way to reconcile oneself with life. Maybe.
Capucine Ruat was born 1975. Celle qui ne parle pas is her first novel.