Anne Brisart, born on June 6, 1945 in Bregilley, in the province of the Doubs, is the leading character in Michel Besnier’s latest novel. To recount one’s wife’s life is a risky and delicate task. Thankfully, Anne kept her letters and diaries, her books and her collections. Gisèle, her mother, a former school mistress, also kept a journal with the dates and events of her daughter’s life. The grand-parents; the father who was a baker; the teaching vocation; the teachers’ training and the traditions of the École normale; the conflicts with the father, the first fiancé… Michel Besnier collects the pieces of a puzzle that constitutes a fascinating family chronicle.
But the real point of the book is – as with all true novelists – that which escapes him, the underlying mystery of the ‘stoic and resistant’ little girl, the secrets of the teenager going through the crisis of growing up, the exciting experience of the first ball. Curious, troubled or deeply affected, the author is charmed by the energy and the liveliness of his character.
Anne and Michel have been together for forty years. Yet we will know nothing about their life as a couple. The book stops with their first encounter. This subtle novel is a declaration of love, the portrait of a young woman in the making, as well as the portrait of an era (the 1950’s and 1960’s) with its disappearing set of old conventions, its hula-hoops, the Nouvelle vague and the colonial wars.
Michel Besnier was born in Cherbourg in 1945. He wrote Le Bateau de mariage (Seuil, 1988) adapted to the cinema by Jean-Pierre Améris, as well as La Roseraie (Fayard, 1997), La Messe des chiens (Stock, 2000) and Une Maison n’est rien (Stock, 2003).
Mais sa vraie matière - comme chez tout romancier - est ce qu'il ignore, les mystères de la petite fille « stoïque et résistante », les secrets de l'adolescente en crise, les émois du premier bal. Curieux, troublé ou bouleversé, il est enfin charmé par la vivacité piquante et l'énergie de son personnage..
Anne et Michel vivent ensemble depuis quarante ans. Mais nous ne saurons rien de cela. Le livre s'arrête à leur première rencontre. Ce roman pudique est une déclaration d'amour.