In the midst of a pandemic, I still do not understand that books are not considered essential goods. Essential to our mental health, essential to our escape, but also essential to shake up society.
If you have the slightest doubt as to the capacity of literature to change the world, just observe how a book is opening the eyes of an entire society in France to the reality of incest.
An explosive book that frees speech.
THE SILENCE OF THE MOTHER
Thanks to a friend, I was able to read the book at the end of the week Familia Grande by Camille Kouchner (which will not be released in Quebec until February).
Surely you have heard of it. Madame Kouchner tells us that her twin brother was attacked by their stepfather, Olivier Duhamel, an eminent jurist and political scientist.
Even if you don’t know anyone from the Parisian literary-political world, the subject of this book will capsize you. It’s not a book on incest, it’s a book on guilt.
Because Camille Kouchner has been devoured by guilt for 30 years. Her brother confided in her at 14, but asked her to keep it a secret. “I was 14 and I let it go. I was 14 years old and, letting it happen, it’s as if I had done it myself. I was 14, I knew and I didn’t say anything, ”she wrote.
We understand with Familia Grande, to what extent incest makes “collateral victims”. It is not just the assaulted person who is ransacked. It is often a whole family that implodes.
Moreover, if Camille Kouchner has not denounced her stepfather for years, it is because: “It would hurt the people we love too much. We can’t do that to them. Not send him to prison ”.
This book had the effect of a bomb in France. Not just because Duhamel is famous (and powerful). But because he sparked a wave of denunciations under the hashtag #metooinceste.
Lots of men and women, who had never spoken of their assault, finally spoke up. A wave ? No, a tsunami!
The most disturbing thing about Camille Kouchner’s book is the mother’s reaction. When she learns that her son has been assaulted by her husband, she trivializes it by saying that after all, there was no penetration, but only fellatio … This great figure of the feminist movement defended her husband, even in his most abject behaviors …
I came away from reading this book with an even greater admiration for my friend Denise Bombardier.
Can you imagine the strength of character it took him in 1990 to denounce the pedophile writer Gabriel Matzneff on French television, while everyone is protecting themselves in this small political-literary environment … incestuous?
THE SILENCE THAT KILLS
I saw the interview that Camille Kouchner gave to François Busnel at The great bookstore. She told how much reading a book, The pervert factory Sophie Chauveau, who also speaks of incest, had influenced her. It is obvious that reading Familia Grande will surely in turn influence other authors.
I would really like a similar book to be written in Quebec. So that we untie the tongues. And let us free the floor.