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An unexpected summer in Tokyo

Dernière mise à jour : 27 déc. 2018

Along with Elisa Shua Dusapin, reality has become curious, bizarre, incomprehensible and reaches the invisible. For a singular and confusing novel.

Les Billes du Pachinko
A writer of uncertain states and floating worlds

Pachinko Elisa Shua Dusapin
A wide range of sensations

Under the varnish of the visible and the banality, the Franco-Helvetic-Korean novelist is fishing for Les Billes du Pachinko for clear and opaque sensations. The Pachinko? A collective and solitary game. A hybrid between pinball machine and slot machine, whose establishments are often controlled by local mafias.

Among the themes sketched out, the relations between generations; the world of play, which in Japanese and Korean, "applies as much to an outing between employees as to a child's play", the stories and tales for the child (Ernest and Celestine, Heidi), the tearing of identity between cultures, resignation, sadness and solitude. The pitch? Thirty-year-old Claire is trying to organize a trip for her grandparents to Korea from which they fled. At the same time, she tries to get closer to Mieko, a child to whom she teaches French.

Fascinated by photography, the author focuses on detail: "The initial image of the story? That of a beautiful young sandwich woman in front of a Pachinko, whose sound teaser she made to lure the barge in general indifference. "It is also the punctum of a photo according to the French philosopher Roland Barthes, a detail, a partial object that launches the desire beyond what the image shows to see.


Here is a story that suspends, for a moment, a time in doubt, in between, in half a day, a fragment of reality. One thinks of this visit to a theme park dedicated to Heidi's reformulated universe, A little train travels there with a desperate slowness, a possible reflection of the numbness that marks so strongly Claire, a repeater quickly at work in her Tokyo stay.

The novel continues the writer's meditation on neglect of others and self-divestment in her previous award-winning book, Winter in Sokcho. This injunction to exist and perform socially, from which the main female figures of her fictions are removed as soon as possible.

Bertrand Tappolet


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