A novel about a burnout in the midst of a pandemic, when some of us are looking for a motivation to get up in the morning or at least, reasons to laugh? Yes why not ? Sometimes it is through the story of the other, whether real or fictional, that we can transcend our own situation, or at least find some avenues for reflection.
Clara is a dynamic young executive who, one good morning, “that morning”, runs into a wall. She can’t go on anymore. Employed in the credit department of a bank, she occupies a position that does not bring her much joy or meaning. We learn that when she was younger, she gave up a dream for family reasons. She no longer thinks about it, but one day, faced with a couple of grandparents who have come to ask for a loan to be able to buy gifts for their grandchildren in order to be loved by them, Clara cracks. Rather than agree to their request, she advises them to think twice. Rather than thinking about the interests of the bank, she lets her humanity speak for itself. She will be reprimanded by her superior. And it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
On sick leave, the young woman finds herself alone, at home, completely empty. It will sink slowly but surely, until it hits the bottom of the barrel. His companion does not find the words or the strength to accompany him on this descent. Impatient, he would like her to shake off her fleas, to take herself in hand.
This novel on one of the ills of the century, occupational disease, describes with great accuracy what people who suffer from it feel. Despite all our knowledge and the many media reports over the years, there is still a taboo surrounding this disease that some still take for a whim. Unlike depression, burnout is linked to the meaning that we give to our work, which nevertheless occupies most of our life. Gaëlle Josse describes very well the isolation of the person who has it. Her words are right when she recounts the leaden scree that falls on Clara, her difficulty in doing everyday things, things as simple as taking a shower or making a coffee. In the background, the author grazes our empty consumer society. Meaningless.
Clara will finally accept the invitation of a childhood friend and will spend some time in the countryside. What this friend offers him, beyond a roof and a warm family environment, is a space to rebuild, without pressure and without judgment.
What is good when you hit rock bottom is that you have support to regain momentum. Far from the city, surrounded by nature, Clara will reconnect with the young woman she was, with her dreams, with her vital energy. And she will slowly rise to the surface, transformed.
Josse’s writing – which we greatly appreciated in A woman in backlight, a portrait of the street photographer Vivian Maier – is very colorful, poetic, with several pearls like this one: “Clara the valiant, vacillante. One more letter that says collapse. ”
This morning is a novel which, despite the dark side of the subject, is filled with sweetness and light. La Clara de Gaëlle Josse reminds us that “being” will always be more important than “having”, and that it is never too late to reconnect with the person filled with dreams that we once were.