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The New Virginie Despentes Is Far From Just A #MeToo Novel – HuffPost

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DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP French author Virginie Despentes speaks to the press upon her arrival at the Drouant restaurant in Paris ahead of the announcement of the winner of the France’s literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, on November 4, 2019. (Photo by DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP) DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP Virginie Despentes, here in November 2019, in Paris. LITERATURE – This is the event of this literary season. This Wednesday, August 17, the successful author Virginie Despentes returns to bookstores, five years after the publication of the last volume by Vernon Subutex, with a new novel with the title that could not be more biting, Dear connard, published by Grasset editions. His story is that of a man and a woman, two stars in decline. The first is called Oscar Jayack. A successful writer, he is accused of having sexually harassed his former press secretary, who has become an ultra-followed feminist blogger. Public opinion is against him. The second, Rebecca Latté, is an actress. Since she turned fifty, contracts no longer knock on her door. Their meeting will never happen. It is in writing – interposed letters – that they will exchange. Everything starts (badly) the day Oscar writes a scandalous comment on the physique of Rebecca, whom he met in Paris. Neither one nor two, this one answers him by mail. “Dear asshole, I read what you posted on your Insta account. You’re like a pigeon that would have shit on my shoulder, ”she begins. The story could have ended there. Oscar could have kept quiet, made himself small. But no, he responds. “It was virulent”, replies the latter. Oscar explains to her that he knows her. They grew up together. Her sister had a crush on her. Rebecca doesn’t really care. He keeps on. He feels he can confide. He tells her what he’s been going through, his feeling of loneliness since he “got metoized”. About #MeToo #MeToo, the stage is set. “It’s true that in publishing, we are lagging behind there”, blows the actress in one of her letters. He is ashamed. Not what he did (he doesn’t understand), but because he thinks he took a jacket, “because I told her that I was madly in love and that she didn’t want anything To hear “. On her blog, the one who accuses her, a certain Zoé Katana, says she belongs “to the army of abused girls who come out of silence”. She no longer wants to be silent. “You can find me, threaten me, insult me. It won’t change anything. We lift the lead screed. Shame must change sides, ”she says. Rebecca makes fun of Oscar’s lament. She does not “sacralize the word of the victim,” she says. Of course, sometimes women lie. […] But the percentage of storytellers remains tiny among the victims, while the percentage of rapists among the male population should alert you to the deterioration of your sexualities. The words used by our two heroines echo current feminist discourse. Those of Oscar, to the male resistance sometimes heard about #MeToo. Here, Virginie Despentes does not deliver a guide to good conduct, on what to think or do. No, the novelist draws up a fiction, a kind of observation of our time inclined to duality, good and bad, where everything is not black or white. Covid-19, containment and TikTok RuPaul’s Drag Race, TikTok, Drake… Dear asshole is full of references to the pop culture of our time. We are deliberately at the turn of the 2020s. As in a season of Plus Belle La Vie, the novel incorporates key moments from French current events. It is about the beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic, when Rebecca returns from a short stay in Barcelona with her arms full of hydroalcoholic gel “because in Paris it seems that we do not find any and in the space of a week, I have the impression that people only think about that”. But also deconfinement, when she observes with suspicion a group of young people outside, “one wears the mask, another has lowered it on the neck, the other two do not wear it”. These impressions speak to us, they anchor us in reality to better tell us about the evils of our sexist society. “We support very well the idea that women are killed by men, for the sole reason that they are women,” breathes Rebecca, echoing feminicides. As for motherhood and mothers, “I notice above all that we always have something to say about their way of taking care of the little ones, she adds. […] Deception. Mothers, they do what they can. A derailed society The former movie star denounces the ageism of his industry. “Do you want to know what it’s like to get canceled?” Talk to an actress my age. […] For most of us, this purgatory begins in our thirties. And I don’t know a solidarity comedian, ”she remarks, which is reminiscent of the fact that in France only 8% of roles were awarded to women over 50, in 2019. Diets, beauty standards, “male gaze”… Everything goes, when Oscar himself evokes his insecurities vis-à-vis the codes of masculinity. “I’m weak. I am not thin. I’m not an elegant guy, a vine, a thin guy. I’m skinny, ”he regrets. His point is not mocked. His interlocutor takes him seriously. This reveals the evolution of the exchanges between our two characters who, over the course of the story, learn to listen to each other. Even if they don’t mince words, they move on, confide in each other about their doubts, their fears. They advise each other, particularly on their drug use. In a derailed society, their budding friendship soothes them. The “Dear asshole” of the beginnings would become almost endearing. Like an ironic preamble to the start of a guide to surviving 2022. See also on Le HuffPost: At the demonstration for Adama Traoré, Virginie Despentes and Vikash Dhorasoo also thought of Camélia Jordana You cannot view this content because you declined cookies associated with content from third parties. If you want to view this content, you can change your choices.

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