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Banality of life

Dernière mise à jour : 19 nov. 2019

Swiss writer Matthias Zschokke takes a disenchanted look at the life in Berlin of a writer whose projects fail. An ironic, desperate reflection on everyday life and self-images.

Quand les nuages poursuivent les corneilles. Matthias Zschokke
The art of struggling in the banality of everyday life

Matthias Zschokke
A poetic, utopian and baroque writer

The title of Matthias Zschokke's novel is at once poetic, light and profound: When the clouds chase the crows (Quand les nuages poursuivent les corneilles. Publisher: Zoé).

The fable discovers the well named author, Roman. He plans to carry out a naked robbery, completely naked, so that he will not be recognized. To promote a theatrical project in an artistic existence in need of recognition.

The story is punctuated by ironic and biting observations on the daily life of a being who lets himself drift. Melancholy and lucidity produce a probable indirect criticism of many life coaching: "Humans have no right to be tired of living. They must gloat and leap to the end of their days, even if the jubilation is actually a moaning and one leaps on burning coals."

There is also, taken from the Latin philosopher poet Lucretia, this indirect criticism, particularly of the social networks that allow the infinite multiplication of his image: "The human being... would exhale billions of images of himself in broad daylight, one film after another that would detach itself from him, that is why he would age and weaken and at a given moment, he would be at his end".

Leaving life in part

The character Roman nevertheless lives an intermittent happiness with the one who "shares" her life. But his elderly mother and long-time friend begged him to take their lives. B. thus renews to him by emails his wish to pass away as soon as possible, so much the bitter weariness of existence the tap. "His disgust with life was so strong that B. no longer even went to bed often, but remained to look darkly in front of him, drinking white wine..."

Roman resembles the character of Monk, a private detective in a TV series combining contact phobia and manic meticulousness. Sexuality for him? "An occupation that is carried out with difficulty... to reach an industrially set standard." Less than the plot, both simple and delicate to define, what marks Matthias Zschokke's work is the way of saying, the refined sense of constantly renewed observation, the floating atmospheres. Great vital questions, deadly, many tiny ones too. Like, "It's weird, the older you get, the more angry you get at yourself. Yet we could make peace with ourselves and accept ourselves as we are."

Fixing your life

The main subject? The uncertain place of each person in a daily routine. Absurd, deceptive, surrealist and strange. A daily life that the author makes the author rediscover with his disillusioned nonchalance. Observe how the bodies are scaffolded and disintegrated. That of retired joggers or his mother. Lookink at the ducks, the dogs, the spiders, the preparation of a Beretta pistol, the clouds that crows chase.

In the repetition of often identical days with a mirror effect for the reader, "how do you arrange your life so that it is as bearable as possible". Why not take the risk of being happy as a couple? With a beloved who erases all her memories of the day before, thus living of the complete new with each awakening. Disturbing.

Bertrand Tappolet

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