They were young and proud, then everything changed: they felt old, as old as their ageing world, as old as twenty centuries, like Paris, like France.
An advertising model since his childhood, Ivan promoted anti-ageing products, anti-tiredness mattresses and anti-cancer nutrients, mostly produced by organic methods. Noémie taught French in a forward-thinking “Zone d’éducation prioritaire”, and always saw her profession in terms of social equality and everyone’s right to be different.
They complimented each other perfectly, they were home-owners, cultivated and informed, broad-minded and impeccably preserved. A terrible accident precipitates their downfall, exacerbating their longing for a more real life, their taste for authenticity without colourings or preservatives, a taste they relentlessly pursue even at the cost of their own lives. From hospitals to contemporary art museums, from holiday guides trumpeting the benefits of idyllic beaches to the hallucinatory sermonising of a Christian sect, from a grim high-rise block in Paris to a primitive tribe, they pursue their quest for meaning as a one-way trip.
We Are Young and Proud is about striving for a simpler life. With this book Solange Bied-Charreton continues the critique of contemporary society she began in Enjoy. It has the same tone, the same combination of cruelty and humour, and a clear commitment not to spare the characters she brings to life.
Solange Bied-Charreton is 31, and lives and works in Paris. Her first novel, Enjoy, was published by Stock in 2012.
Nous sommes jeunes et fiers est le récit d’un retour aux sources. Mais quelles sources convoque-t-on lorsque celles-ci renvoient au désir d’un monde débarrassé de civilisation ? Produits des discours publicitaire, écologique et culturel, Ivan et Noémie, nouveaux Adam et Ève à l’insatisfaction permanente, bercés par le voeu chimérique d’une vie plus vraie, sont les figures tragiques d’une époque où la quête de sens prend parfois la forme inattendue d’un voyage sans retour.