wanted to exercise their choice were no less helpless

Silence and anger”: Pierre Lemaitre pays homage to the social novel with the second opus of his family fresco on the Glorious Thirties
Pierre Lemaitre continues to “leaf through” the 20th century with this new episode of his family fresco dedicated to the postwar boom. We find with pleasure the adventures of the Pelletier family in this period, a breeding ground for great social changes.
Pierre Lemaitre offers us the second part of his tetralogy devoted to the Glorious Thirties, a family saga that began a year ago with Le Grand Monde, a bestseller camped out in the top tier of sales for the year 2022. this winter literary season, Silence and anger will be published on Tuesday January 10 by Calmann-Lévy editions.

The story: 1952, in the Pelletier family, the father fell in love with boxing. The eldest son Jean, known as “Bouboule”, and historical burden but troubled personality, tries to carry out his project for a revolutionary clothing store, under the acerbic eye of his indescribable wife Geneviève, pregnant and fiercer than ever. François, the second son, tries to understand the mysteries hidden from him by Nine, his deaf lover, while Hélène is sent by her editor-in-chief to a village doomed to disappear under the waters of a hydroelectric dam.

Through the destiny of the various protagonists of this family fresco, the writer paints a picture of this second period of the postwar boom, marked by economic, social and technological changes, and in which the beginnings of the May 68 revolution and feminist struggles. Thus Hélène, an independent and emancipated young woman, finds herself confronted with the criminal repression of abortion, and the risks that women run by resorting to clandestine abortion.

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social novel
Major post-war projects, emergence of mass commerce, the mass press, advent of household appliances, class struggle, democratization of sport, family violence… If the writer had had fun paying homage to the adventure novel in the first part of this family fresco, he “places himself resolutely in the furrow of the social novel” with this second episode of the saga.

“The major risk of the historical novel, in my opinion, is to want to say absolutely everything we know, to want to” make profitable “the documentation”, confided to franceinfo Culture Pierre Lemaitre at the exit of the first opus there one year old Here the writer juggles once again with dexterity between historical facts and the romantic plot, installing the reader in the atmosphere of an era, without overwhelming him with historical details but rather by embodying the story with a capital H. in the twists and turns of personal destinies.

Pierre Lemaitre’s gushing and humorous pen makes us travel both in time and in the horrors of this colorful gallery of characters, whose procrastination we follow with avidity. As addictive as an American series, this second part, printed in 250,000 copies, will not fail to satisfy readers. Success guaranteed.

“In 1952, when Hélène was getting scared, we weren’t there anymore, but most pregnant women who wanted to exercise their choice were no less helpless. We were looking for an address. It was the expression a thousand times heard, do you have “an address?”, I know someone who has “an address”, the question was asked in a trembling voice; these muffled dialogues carried all sorts of terrifying images, tragic stories, find “an address” was looking for a door opening onto pain, humiliation, freedom perhaps, sometimes the police station. Or the morgue.” (Silence and Anger, p. 125)

Abdul Mia