Sylvie Germain, a author who has turn out to be a favourite of French commencement candidates

Sylvie Germain in a “trendy” topic on Twitter. We didn’t expect that. It’s rare for a writer to get a shower of tweets on social media unless they’re at the center of controversy. However, the scandal is not really a cup of tea of ​​the discreet writer “Book of the Night”, the author of about forty books – mostly novels, but also essays on painting or religion. If Sylvie Germain thus found herself at the forefront of the Twitter scene, it was because one of her texts, taken from “Days of Wrath,” was offered on Thursday, June 16, to first-graders in the part scheduled for the French Matura Exam.

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A choice that confused the candidates. For many, the text broken down into complex comments was very difficult, even incomprehensible, and they poured out their resentment and frustration on social media, at the end of the ordeal, insulting a writer they had mostly never heard of. Still, Sylvie Germain is far from unknown. She won the Femina Award in 1989 for “Days of Wrath” (Gallimard)the Cino del Duca World Prize for all his work in 2016 and the Goncourt des lycéens – as – in 2005, for “Magnus” (Albin Michael).

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His unique universe, often dark, mixing history and fantasy, references to the Bible and fine arts, carried by lyrical, carved writing, occupies a special place in the French literary landscape. The unexpected and short-lived spotlight offered to him by high school students may be an opportunity to discover his work. That’s good: Sylvie Germain has just published a new novel, The Power of Shadows (Albin Michael). Here is an enthusiastic review given to her by our colleague Claire Julliard.

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Inside the killer’s mind

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Gallo-Roman warrior, a furry man with a curled head, an animated skeleton, a scaly merfolk … These curious characters go to the most eccentric ball under masks. The atmosphere is joyful, laughter is bursting. Then time stops. the “Brouhaha of laughter” gives way to tears, clutter. Gaspard, one of the guests, fell out the window. Police are investigating. Raptus, accident, murder? A few days later, another of the merrymakers was found dead. The story could be compared to a detective story. However, the identity of the culprit, since there was a crime, is quickly revealed. How does one become a killer?

The author wonders, who is sharply searching the hallucinating psyche of the executioner. It will be attacked by shadows, abused by a frightening past. Once again, Sylvie Germain examines absolute evil in its astonishing banality. She dissects the killer’s personality, his anxiety as a fallen man, his twilight state, between denial of reality and lucid madness. This novel of chaos transitions from unbridled fantasy to deep darkness. The elegance and virtuosity of writing keep away the disturbing wanderings of the pathetic monster.

The power of shadows, by Sylvie Germain, Albin Michel, 220 pages, € 19.90.

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