Youngsters rewarded on Goncourt and Renaudot

The Goncourt and Renaudot prizes were awarded to two young writers, Nicolas Mathieu and Valérie Manteau, for their novels that evoke the treasure hunts of a new generation, French for one, Turkish for the second.

The judges of the Goncourt and Renaudot prizes foiled all prognoses by awarding their prizes, the most popular of the autumn awards, to two young writers of great talents whose novels did not belong to the favorites. De Goncourt was awarded to Nicolas Mathieu, 40, for his second novel, Their children after them, edited by Éditions Actes Sud, last year already awarded the same prize with Éric Vuillard and the agenda. David Diop & # 39; s novel, Brother of the soul (Threshold), who tells the fate of two Senegalese archers and whose eyes were turned away in this centenary of the Great War, leaves without laurels.

It is a novel with a rough beauty, both black and incarnate, which award jury & # 39; s Goncourt with this text that tells the disillusionment of a youth margins in Heillange, a city in Lorraine after the closure of Metalor's blast furnaces. Nicolas Mathieu, born in Epinal, was like his characters a teenager who grew up in the nineties in the peripheral areas.

"His political statement, full of generational references, marks the map of an area with margins and social immobility in four summers", wrote Fabienne Lemahieu (The cross of October 4) Their children after themgreeting "The intensity of a raw, brutal and incarnate language from which beauty is exposed to the true measure of the excesses of these dark and lofty young people, an art of revelation that reflects an organic discourse, at the bottom of which the eroticism of bodies modesty of feelings betrays, where the violence of human relationships reveals more impotence and disorder than dissatisfaction ". Nicolas Mathieu is also the author of a first black novel, For animals war (Actes Sud, 2014), whose same acute tone unfolds in this second fiction. His first novel, a chronicle of the economic violence that employees are grinding after the closure of a car-supply factory in the Vosges, has just been adapted in the form of a series by Alain Tasma. It is broadcast on France 3 (read the article devoted to him in the edition of The cross 10-11 November).

The prize Renaudot creates even more surprise by crowning the very beautiful, also, novel by Valérie Manteau, The Sillon (The Tripod), which did not belong to the previous selections of the judges. The attribution, Monday 5 November, of the Femina prize to the book by Philippe Lançon, The Lambeau (Gallimard), their favorite disqualified, to whom they have given a special mention. Former journalist Charlie Hebdo From 2008 to 2013 Valérie Manteau, 33 years old, lives between France and Istanbul, the city she has created from this second book. The Sillon is the title that the Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, murdered by a 17-year-old nationalist for the headquarters of his newspaper in 2007, gave to the bilingual weekly magazine that he had founded in Istanbul in 1996.

It is this personality, his work and that of all intellectuals who oppose the Turkish authoritarianism that the writer in this fiction increases. Her main character, a nostalgic French girl who settles at the Bosporus, also digs a path in her search, both personal and political, traced by Valérie Manteau with a fragility that adds great beauty to her story.

His motor is the misunderstanding, that of a fight that is not his and that it tries to seize, and that of international indifference after the murder of the journalist. The engine of everything is also a quest for peace, personal and collective. The writer quotes Hrant Dink as the highlight of his book: "Do you know what it means that a man is locked up in the care of a pigeon?"

Sabine AudrerieRead more on p. 13 the criticism of the book Le Sillon by Valérie Manteau.