Emmanuelle Pagano was born in Aveyron in september 1969. She lives today in Ardèche, with three children, born in april 1991, september 1995 and may 2003. She has conducted university research in the field of aesthetics in film and multimedia. Fellow at Villa Medici, French Academy in Rome, april 2013 – september 2014. She has published twelve books, including six novels and several short story collections. Her novel Les Adolescents Troglodytes (2007) won the 2009 EU Prize for Literature, and her work has been translated into German, Hungarian, Italian and Spanish.
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Trysting, And Other Stories, nov 2016 (Translator: Jennifer Higgins and Sophie Lewis)
This extremely unusual book is much more than a novel on love, it’s a multitude of brief novels on love. From several sentences to several pages,this proliferation of moments and romantic instants is not encumbered by the need to tell a tale from beginning till end. Instead, we are plunged into the heart of a situation, an emotion or a thought, into what is most immediately deep. Just a few words, sentences, notations. And it works so powerfully because Emmanuelle Pagano has a highly developed sense of detail, the type of detail that, alone, is able to summarize entire situations and to convey their meaning to the reader. Stories and moments of encounter and rupture, of sex and sentiments; stories of happiness, sadness, helplessness and exaltation. Women and women, men and men,women and men, separately and together.
In this exceptionally moving and varied book, a great number of anonymous characters offer us an
intimate glimpse at their private lives. The stories range from a few lines to a few pages, and are all in the first person. This choral “I” creates a collection in the shape of a kaleidoscope of intimacy and emotion, drawn from different ages and eras. The style is masterful, the fragments full or poetry, affection, sensuality and humor, too. You can’t help smiling when you recognize yourself or someone you love in certain characters. These clever and varied fragments are surprisingly moving on many different levels. Emmanuelle Pagano offers us a wide range of love stories, composed of ple asure and excitement, love and sex, bodies and souls, getting started and breaking up. A series of fragments that each tell a different story, sometimes in a man’s voice, sometimes a woman’s.
In « Nouons-nous », love is in the details, composed of daily gestures – the ones we do or don’t agree to share, the ones we miss when the other isn’t there.
Nothing is taboo here, but nothing is vulgar either. The bodies, with their desires – and sometimes their disgraces – are real. This kaleidoscope of love stories, all told in the first person, is a delight: concrete and ordinary, but poetic and moving, too.
The author portrays the ties that bind, and how they can be tight or slack, smooth or frayed. She allows us to see her characters’ strengths and weaknesses, cowardice and courage; their children, friends and families, their daily lives – in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, married or not.
« Night-Light« , short story, feb 2013, read
« The Cancellation« , short story in the exhibation catalogue of FACE— »Investigations of a Dog », Works from Five European Art Foundations, read
Les mains gamines (Childish hands)
At first sight this pleasant, quite charming title appears to promisea fine poetic, childhood-filled tale. However, the story of Childish Hands is nothing but horrifying. It is the story of a girl who,throughout an entire school year, is daily and systematically rapedby all the boys in her class—all but one.Time has passed and now she is the housekeeper of one of her former torturers. She writes a journal to help her overcome this history that is at the same time a collective secret, but she doesn’t succeed, always comes back to it, and even goes so far as to suggest to her employer that he give a party for all their former class mates.One by one, four characters who, consciously or not, carry the secret are going to let us assess its implication. They are all women, women who have kept silent although they should have spoken up, or who don’t know but are suspicious, understanding especially inside their bodies, through their bodies, that something, some unmentionable presence, surrounds them.Through very skillful and deeply moving streams ofconsciousness, Emmanuelle Pagano reveals the secret and at the same time describes its concealment, which she does in a marvelous and implacable language that is both precise and sensual.
Translated from the French by Marjolin De Jager : Chapter 1
Les Adolescents troglodytes (The Cave teenagers)
Adèle, the narrator and main protagonist of The Cave teenagers, was born with a male body but subsequently underwent surgery to become the woman she now is. The story relates how she returns to her home region and takes a job driving the local school bus. Two lakes are mentioned in the extract. One is an artificial lake under which now lies the farm where Adèle was born and spent her childhood, with her parents and her brother Axel. The other is a natural, volcanic lake where she often goes to spend time on her own. It is beside this lake that the extract opens.
Translated from the French by Liam Hayes : Chapter 1
Le Tiroir à cheveux (The Locks in the drawer)
One should never speak about my neighbor, not even in her back. One should not talk to her either. She had not asked permission to fall pregnant. Actually for most things she would not wait for the permission to be granted. I think that she jumped over the gate, when she still did not have the right to the key. I would not have done so myself, but I would hide to write, because I was never too sure it was permitted. I was looking at my neighbor’s son, all crooked in his stroller, his eyes catching the full sun, and I was wondering what did not grant him the right to move, to see, to hear, to speak, to raise a hand to wipe his mouth. I was watching his mother and I was admiring her on the sly. I was admiring her for having done that, a forbiden child, drooling and hogging the sky to himself. I was ashamed also, the poor one. I have written down this story without permission, not even his, let alone his mother’s, just to tell her, way too late, your son looks handsome, as I was passing down the courtyard, and opening the gate in front of her.