Olivier Rolin’s wonderful inner journey

The novel presented by Jérôme Garcin

The author of “Port Sudan“of”paper tiger” and ex-Maoist of the proletarian left submitted to an experiment: a move in full confinement. He was fired at the age of 75 from the very ugly Parisian apartment in rue de l’Odéon, where he spent half his life A beautiful place For him it is a matter of extracting everything he had piled up, books, newspapers, letters, photos, family archives, hats, maps, objects brought back from Siberia, Argentina, Texas… And Rolin to to quote Michel Leiris, to whom “one move is the end of the world in a pinch“, especially when you have to leave the famous main street of the Village des Lettres, since it is there that Adrienne Monnier once kept her bookshop ‘La Maison des amis du livre’ and that her partner Sylvia Beach created her ‘Shakespeare & cie’ right in front .The writers of the time, Hemingway, Aragon… go from one to the other.

“An extremely beautiful book” which moved Arnaud Vivian very much

For the journalist from the magazine Transfuge, all the beauty of the book lies in the fact that the travel writer struggles to come to terms with the idea that he has to leave his very old apartment, where he has spent half his life: “He is condemned to double punishment, as he has to move during his imprisonment. Olivier Rolin is above all a travel writer who cannot leave his home, which results in an extremely beautiful book whose concept consists of a journey around my room, my flat, my neighborhood. It’s fun. It’s also a great book about Russian culture and literature, of which he is a great connoisseur, and which really gives something moving.”

Nelly Kapriélan moved by “an almost poetic beauty”

The critics of L’Obs also found it very beautiful and very moving: “despite a few slightly whiny sentences, this review of his whole life, of the changing times through his letters is of a beauty that comes from a kind of poetry , sensitivity, magnificent delicacy”.

Patricia Martin was completely surprised

The criticism of France Inter was particularly moved by the author’s inner fragility, which always manages to overcome the great disorder that this trait entails: “I think above all of his great, disordered madman side, which shines through permanently. We can well imagine us the apartment as it must have been, full of dust, where everything flows everywhere, cupboards, a library with 7,000 books in all. That’s how it is with everything. He likes to express this fragility and besides, it’s really, really fun .”

Jean-Claude Raspiengeas celebrates a very beautiful literary journey through the author’s memories

For the journalist from La Croix “this book is a retrospective dive into all traces of a life. It is not only the books that count, as the smallest object is the occasion for a wandering evocation of all its. It is a very Proustian approach, that pushes him to blow on the dust of all his remains to give birth to an entire universe.

In the same way, he acts like a notary in memory when he evokes the memories of his neighborhood steeped in history. He is very specific about the ghosts on this street.

There is also a very nice hint of Russia. Above all, when we read it, we see how this people is stuck between the hammer of communism and the anvil of Putinism.

In this great resurrection of old things, he makes many digressions, parentheses, bifurcations, wanderings, going from rooster to donkey, even at times getting lost. Even if he stretches his sentences, he always lands on his feet, and it’s beautiful!”

The book

Hear the full reviews of the book:

“Blank places” by Olivier Rolin

7 minutes

📖 READ – “Empty Places” by Olivier Rolin (Gallimard)

🎧 OPEN BOOK | All the other works scrutinized by critics of Le Masque and de la Plume can be found on the Radio France website and app.

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