September 1981. Carmen Diaz is six years old, her brother Ramon is eight. They live in the 6th district of Paris where they befriend Damien Boyerdrey. The Boyerdreys represent everything Carmen’s parents loathe: money linked with corruption. Yet Carmen is seduced by the elegance of Brigitte Boyerdrey and becomes convinced that she had better choose the side of the powerful rather than work and campaign for the Communist Party like her mother.
Courageous and wilful, Carmen is very successful at school. She goes off to study in Edinburgh for a year and then enrols at HEC, one of the most prestigious private business schools in France. In spite of her fling with the handsome Donald Leely in Scotland, she continues to feel strongly attached to “the boys” at home: her brother Ramon and his two friends Damien and Robert. If only she could keep them for herself, forever…
In June 1998 she finishes third of her year at HEC. To some, she represents a perfect example of middle class bourgeoisie, to others, she remains the daughter of proletarians. In any case, she loves money and is not ashamed of claiming this out loud. People are afraid of her and reproach her for being cruel. She hasn’t been in touch with her mother for a year.
During twenty years, we observe the life of this pretty girl and “her boys”; a proud and solitary girl who “betrays” the convictions her parents stand for. Twenty years during which we witness the fall of communism and the end of the ideals of previous generations.
Hélène Millerand was born in Versailles in 1945. She has published two books at Editions du Seuil: Les carnets d’une coquette raisonnable (1992) and Renonce avec grâce à la jeunesse (2002). Her first novel, Vieille France (Stock, 2004), which recounts the life of a governess in France in the 1940s, met with a great deal of attention. With Modern solitude Millerand delivers once more a portrait of a moving and complex woman.