Translated by Linda Coverdale
At the City Hall in a small town in the South of France, one man starts his campaign to correct the ills that have overtaken his proud nation by lecturing the town's inhabitants on the art of conversation. In the narrator's opinion, "conversation is a specialty that is most eminently French," an art that should be nurtured and practiced, and can help repair France's reputation. Not to mention, being a good conversationalist is extremely useful for seducing women, which is how the narrator managed to attract Lucienne, his "superbly lumpish" wife who died two months before giving this lecture.
One of the oddest characters in contemporary fiction, the lecturer in this novel can't help but digress about his sad life in the midst of his speech, giving the reader a view of a man trying to turn one of his greatest faults into a virtue and forcing it on everyone else.
By turns ironic, hilarious, pathetic, and mortifying, Salvayre's The Lecture is an exuberant example of the exciting fiction currently being written in France.
Nb of pages 120 p.
Publication Date 01 May 2005
Nb of pages 120
Dimensions 5 x 8 in.
List Price $12.50
Take a French dinner party. In Paris. Chez Armand. A chic dinner. The kind I don’t go to. Pearls, crystal, the works.
Observe the guests. Scientifically. They turn to the left and right. Shake their heads. Gesture repeatedly with their arms in a manner known as pronation. Devote themselves to mastication, mouths closed, I should add. And between two tiny mouthfuls, I should add, they move their lips constantly. Like this.
"The Lecture is first of all hilarious . . . Thanks to her clown-like protagonist, Lydie Salvayre is able to write about things that couldn't have been addressed in a more serious book. The beauty of her language doesn't prevent the protagonist from being insolent about certain topics, especially intellectuals and the publishing world. The jubilation in reading this book is also due to the fact that, like in Rabelais, Salvayre resorts to getting laughs, and plays with the musicality of her prose."
"In The Lecture, Lydie Salvayre has dared to forget about all the pseudo-obligations of current novels—you find neither a progression in the plot nor pornographic scenes in this book. She has a very unique style that is captivating as we follow with admiration and interest the aphorisms and ramblings of the strange protagonist."
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Genres : Fiction : Europe : Western Europe
Countries : France