un secret, philippe grimbert

C’est août et pour un autre l’histoire dans mon club de lecture, je ne pense pas que le livre cette mois soit ma favori sauf c’est le livre qui a brisé mon coeur (même plus que Oscar et La Dame Rose!) “Un secret” n’est pas un long livre. À première vue, cela ressemble à l’histoire d’un jeune Philippe Grimbert, né à la fin des années 1940 en France, qui invente un frère aîné imaginaire pour compenser sa faible estime de soi.

It’s August and for another story in my book club, I do not think the book this month is my favorite except it’s the book that broke my heart (even more than Oscar and The Pink Lady! ) “A secret” is not a long book. At first sight, it looks like the story of a young Philippe Grimbert, born in the late 1940s in France, who invents an imaginary elder brother to compensate for his low self-esteem.

Comme l’histoire progresse, il semble se développer dans la vie des parents de M. Grimbert, à savoir comment ils tombent amoureux. Cependant, le livre ne s’arrête pas quand un secret horrible est révélé à mi-chemin. La dernière partie du récit est consacrée au déballage de ce secret, ainsi qu’à ses impacts sur M. Grimbert et sa famille.

As the story progresses, it seems to develop in the lives of Mr. Grimbert’s parents, how they fall in love. However, the book does not stop when a horrible secret is revealed halfway. The last part of the story is devoted to unpacking this secret, as well as its impact on M. Grimbert and his family. 

Il y a des spoilers avec la torsion dans l’histoire mais je encouragerais tout le monde à lire le livre pour que vous puissiez trouver les réponses à ces questions posées par ‘un secret’. Le secret m’ai laissé imaginer toutes sortes d’hypothèses et me faisant tourner les pages sans relâche : je ne m’attendais vraiment à un secret si terrible, à une telle souffrance. J’ai donc été profondément émue par cette histoire si approfondi, racontée avec simplicité, puis bouleversée en comprenant dans l’épilogue que ce n’était pas une fiction et que l’auteur avait vraiment vécu de cette manière le silence de ses parents et de ses proches.

There are spoilers with twist in the story but I would encourage everyone to read the book so you can find the answers to these questions posed by ‘a secret’. The secret let me imagine all sorts of hypotheses and made me turn the pages relentlessly: I did not really expect such a terrible secret, such suffering. I was deeply moved by this story so deepened, told with simplicity, then upset by understanding in the epilogue that it was not a fiction and that the author had really lived in this way the silence of his parents and of his relatives.

‘Un Secret’ truly has a place in my heart of French literature, I know it is widely studied for French A Level and I envy anyone that does because from a historians point of view it is so shocking but similarly from a reader it is equally so. It is only 150 pages or so, if you can get your hands on the English translation (or the French) then I would just urge you to because it is a book that will have you thinking over and over again once you’ve put it down.

I realise now that perhaps doing a book club every month was a little too presumptuous that I would be able to read a book in French per month, write a review and keep up with all the other things on my blog (perhaps one every two months might have worked out to be less stressful) but nevertheless with five months left of the year I think I can scrape by five more books; one can only hope.

But it is why, for this month, I decided to take it easy and choose a book that I’m currently reading and absolutely love called Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by the French philosopher Simone De Beauvoir. I was thinking it would be good to do the English translation purely because it is slightly easier to understand (I’m definitely not of a standard where I can read this in French in a month) and I would already recommend this book to anyone, whether you’re into French literature, English literature, autobiographies – I just love it. I would write a mini review on this post but then that would spoil the one at the end of the month so I’ll save it for then but ahh for a non-fiction book it’s just so mesmerising. Simone truly is a genius – as is Grimbert.

I hope you like the books and happy reading!

lots of love, eleanor xx

3 Comments

    1. eleanorclaudie 31st August 2018 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply

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