A changing world in the fictions of the Americas

Navigating the imaginaries of the past, present and even the future, the authors of the Americas are keen observers of a profoundly changing world and conveyors of great truths about the climate emergency, racial wounds, political ambition and the bursting of speeches.

The engaged

We lived in a summer country, by Lydia Millet (Les Escales, October 6).Among the myths overused to provide a glimpse of what awaits humanity if it continues to destroy everything in its path, that of Noah’s Ark certainly ranks first.

The American Lydia Millet borrows this wave, without being able to hold it against her in the slightest.

As a true virtuoso of allegory, she takes the reader along unexpected paths, moving from fairy tale to dystopia to better reflect the consequences of complacency and inaction. Through the story of a gang of young people left to their own devices to brave a storm, she stages intergenerational detachment and the tragedy of a world that is disappearing before our eyes.

When the last tree, the Michael Christie (Albin Michel, in bookstores). 2038. All the trees have fallen. The planet is nothing more than a desert of dust. On an island off the coast of British Columbia, Jacinda guides wealthy tourists through one of the last remaining primary forests.

When she learns that she is the descendant of Harris Greenwood, a lumber tycoon with a twisted past, she must come to terms with the haunt of secrets and lies that have darkened the fate of her family for generations.

Canadian writer Michael Christie weaves the contours of the Greenwood clan with the rigor and poetry of trees, while highlighting the impacts of our collective indifference to the fading and silent pulsation of these giants of nature.

The survivors

Memorial Drive, by Natasha Trethewey (From l’Olivier, September 29). On June 5, 1985, Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough died under the beatings of her ex-husband, Joel.

More than 30 years after this feminicide, his daughter, Natasha Trethewey, undertakes to give voice and freedom to the one who gave her life.

In this visceral and luminous story, the writer interweaves the trajectory of the women of her family with that of America to better expose the consequences of racism and domestic violence.

And with one arm, the sister sweeps the house, by Cherie Jones (Calmann-Lévy, September 29). When Lala’s abusive husband accidentally kills a man in a burglary, the women victims of his violence will have to learn to rebuild themselves.

Behind the paradisiacal landscapes of Barbados, Cherie Jones unearths the wounds, fears and mourning that unite women across generations, despite differences in class and culture, despite appearances.

The water dance, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Fayard, September 29). Born in shackles in Virginia, the young slave Hiram Walker no longer has any memory of his mother, who was sold when he was only a child. From her, he only retains a mysterious power that will save him from drowning.

In this chance encounter with death, the young man finds the necessary impetus to flee his condition and join in the clandestine war between masters and slaves.

The essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates (The great fight, Black anger) offers a debut novel at the edge of documentary and magical realism to better expose the lies and illusions that feed America. Bewitching and introspective.

The visionaries

Noopiming. Remedy to cure whiteness, by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Inkwell brief, September 15). “In the face of colonialism, Aboriginals must continually make a ‘home’ for themselves and regain a sense of belonging. For some of us, these are just glimpses, sneaky moments. Sometimes there are only fragments of it. “

It is among these scraps, uniting her family with nature, the living, the spirits and the community, that Leanne Betasamosake Simpson builds her act of resistance.

The Anichinabe author reappropriates the narrative and poetic breath of her ancestors to imagine a gallery of sublime characters, deconstructing page after page the genres, boxes and standards imposed by colonial myths.

Shut up, you’re beautiful, by Téa Mutonji (Tête première, September 21). The Canadian writer of Congolese origin Téa Mutonji explodes the boundaries of the romantic form in this first book which shakes up the concepts of femininity and identity. Composed in the form of micro news, Shut up, you’re beautiful is deeply rooted in the contemporary political and social context.

Through stories of exile, mourning, lineage and despair, the author exposes the fragility of the border between desire and choice, deconstructing the constraints that limit the freedom of all those who must exist on the margins.

The expected

Dust in the wind, by Leonardo Padura (Métailié, September 29). They are twenty years old. She comes from New York, and he from Cuba. It’s crazy love. A photograph, taken in the garden of the young man’s mother in 1990, will be the starting point of an investigation into the life of eight friends united since adolescence, on their links upset by the transformations of the world and the fall of the world. Soviet bloc.

Cuban writer Leonardo Padura puts his patriotism, his erudition and his mastery of suspense at the service of grandiose characters carried by the breath of exile and nostalgia.

Wild weather, by Mario Vargas Llosa (Gallimard, October 20). The tragic consequences of the Cold War are also at the heart of Mario Vargas Llosa’s new novel. The Peruvian author returns to a little-known episode in the political history of the twentieth century: the coup d’état organized by the United States in Guatemala in 1954 to overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz and put an end to his agrarian reform.

His captivating, melancholy pen transforms what could only be a history lesson into an epic fresco.

Ambition to spare

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