Saturday, 14 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - "Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus

"Nice Family," résumé of chapter 7 from original in French by Frencheuropean.

Laurence is well-balanced physically, but too steely to be considered graceful. Her features are mordant, her cheeks smooth, her forehead finely lined, her hair a Nordic blond. But in herself, she is a person of tight-lipped principles. She is a dominant woman who has no truck with contradiction and writes off those who contradict as madmen or cretins. "She knows what she knows."

Stéphane gives way to her for the sake of peace and as she directs the cardiology service, he prefers to leave her with the illusion of power.

More adolescent than grown man, smooth face, and at 46 years old, a full head of hair.

Their relations are coldly regulated, love and sex have no place there.

Between this accommodating father and this very strict mother, Madec, in contrast to his brothers who adjust to the situation, feels very alone. His mother, because of this, thinks that he doesn't love her and attributes her frequent migraines to a son she doesn't understand. She sometimes has nightmares in which she sees herself as an animal, devoured by her own children.

During a stop in Italy, a kind shopkeeper offers Madec a keyring with a scorpion embedded in resin, which fascinates Madec and reminds him of Big. His mother is obliged to accept, but refuses to give it to her son because with a scorpion "it's not meant for a child of seven."

"She knows what she knows."

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