The Blood of Girls, by Julie Nakache, by Chantal Denis
The book Le Sang des Filles was published in the spring. This is the second title in the “Écumes” collection from Exopotamie, which connects a text with another form of artistic expression.
Mix text and other forms of expression? A joy, for the author Julie Nakache, who has always written her texts inspired by images: "For Portraits with missing faces (2014), I imagined Bosch, Eisher, Courbet. It snows a little from him on the threshold where she waits (2011) was more inspired by Woman in Blue by Picasso, or White square on white background by Malevich. For The Reflection of the Jellyfish (2017) it was Vernet's landscapes that inspired me." And for his two works rewritten for young people, The Pied Piper (2016) and Polyphonte (2018), she worked in collaboration with illustrators.
For The Blood of Girls , another beautiful encounter took place with the works of the Argentine artist Diego Arrascaeta who, he himself says, learned to paint by reading poetry. Julie's work met Diego's work and Diego's work met Julie's work. “The work is mysterious, open, impenetrable, it is a companion presence,” says Diego 1 . Each reader will experience this presence, this something of the march of time, when:
“The color of the kitchen tiles has faded” 2
he will suddenly be struck, at the turn of a page, by the coincidence with the present time
“When madmen march on Europe”
and will feel the inexorable succession of generations
“Why do mothers have to die?”
The questions swirl, examining moments of uncertainty, to the point of dizziness. Don't freeze,
“Stretch out your arms/the earth – everything smiles –/return to laughter/refuse the distance/Weave.”
“hands tied to pencil – writing”
Julie Nakache devotes herself to writing, to words. Alone, for her novels, or shared for her collections of poetry or her public interventions with illustrators or painters, photographers or musicians… She also shares with her students, since she teaches Letters in Angoulême.
This need to write is evident when reading his works, especially in his latest novel, A dark and long night , published in 2020 in Le Temps qu’il fait.
“My novels relentlessly question the ever-renewed mystery of writing, that of the words with which our vacillating existences attempt to take shape.” Relentlessly, but not without suffering. When she takes up the cause, in One dark and long night , for Geertje, Rembrandt's servant and mistress, mistreated by the Master, her master, she achieved this feat of painting Geertje's life and discreetly placing a few touches of her own: “At the same time as his destiny is being written, the thoughts of my own life are maturing. Geertje's story resonates with mine and these lines help me untangle the tangle of my torments.”
“Something must be able to be said about women”
This quest obsesses him, is felt in all his writings, reads implicitly or is expressed in the middle of a story, a tale. In Polyphonte , in 2018: "Polyphonte, descended from the blood of Ares, god of war and tears, is one who opens up to nature: freed from the constraints inherent to the condition of women, she refuses, forever, submission to the imperious desires of men." She says it silently and on tiptoe, in 2021: “The words are scattered across the page/it looks like the remains of a butterfly/crushed/on the asphalt. […] I hate you for not being there/when I sink/into my dark and long night." Only, to truly, fully say, the place of women, how woman exists and asserts herself in relation to man, how she is a girl then a woman, how she experiences motherhood, illness, war, cries, loves , laughs…
he had to go to Exopotamia
The name of this desert region imagined by Boris Vian in his novel Autumn in Beijing is taken over by a publishing house located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Mélanie, its director, explains: “Quite quickly, I had the idea of using the name of a fictitious place to illustrate what I visualized as a territory that could embody the notion of the promised land, sort of. of an ideal landscape where, as in any ideal, nothing remains fixed or rational. […] I went through quite a few stages before remembering this place discovered during my adolescence in a book by Boris Vian, Autumn in Beijing , and which corresponded to a desert: that of Exopotamia. When I did some research and discovered its etymology ('exo': out of, and 'potamie'/'potamós': river or river) and that it did not exist anywhere on our maps, I I decided to adopt it for my house, […] a house which is not a rigid and closed block but rather an open and moving space, apart, against the flow, part of a movement like that of poetry that is anything but natural to most people." 3
2 All isolated quotes in the center of the text come from the book The Blood of Girls .