• Last week before the Goncourt award ceremony, on November 3.

  • Like last year, you will be able to designate the Goncourt prize for readers of "20 Minutes".

  • Among the four finalists, “The most secret memory of men” by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, published on August 19, 2021 by Éditions Rey.

Alain Raimbault, contributor of the group read

20 Minutes

books you recommended

The most secret memory of men

Mohammed Mbougar Sarr, published August 19, 2021 to Rey Books.

Her favorite quote:

“People want a book to necessarily be about something.

The truth, Diego, is that only a mediocre or bad or banal book talks about anything.

A great book has no subject and speaks of nothing, it only seeks to say or discover something, but that alone is already all, and this something is also already all.


Why this book?

  • Because this novel reads a bit like a police investigation.

    The reader follows Diégane's quest to discover who TC Elimane is, author of a novel which reached its heyday in 1938 before sinking into oblivion. With Diégane, the reader crosses historical eras: the First World War allegedly by the father of the mysterious writer, the Second World War in which characters perished, decolonization, the dictatorship in Argentina ...

  • Because the author invites us on a literary journey.

    It pays homage between the lines to a great writer who did indeed exist and who knew, a bit like TC Elimane, glory and dishonor after having published an extremely powerful novel which won him the Renaudot Prize in 1968. The novel s title: 

    The duty of violence

     and its Malian author, a little forgotten today, is Yambo Ouologuem. Other tributes are also paid to Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Luis Borges, Ernesto Sábato, Ahmadou Kourouma or Sami Tchak, among others.

  • Because this novel poses the question of the fate of the writer,

    and the fate of the text. If Diégane seeks to discover what was the life of TC Elimane, he also questions the sources: testimonies, letters, newspapers, literary reviews, photographs, and the question of historical truth arises constantly. In addition, when it comes to a novel, there is also the question of reading, of the correct and correct reading that the author would like.

  • Because writing is a journey.

    The author varies the length of his sentences depending on the situation.

    He plays with the language levels a bit like Louis-Ferdinand Céline did.

    He also doesn't hesitate to summon the ghosts.

    He often asks a question and immediately offers two or three alternatives, not to say answers because it is more a principle of uncertainty that advances the narration.

    By the end of the book, the reader understands that no truth is universal and that uncertainty is as painful as it is grandiose.

The essentials in 2 minutes

The plot.

 Diégane Latyr Faye, a young Senegalese writer discovers in Paris a forgotten masterpiece published in 1938. This novel is called: “The labyrinth of the inhuman.

»Diégane then sets out in search of his mysterious author, TC Elimane.


 Diégane Latyr Faye, young Senegalese writer;

TC Elimane, mysterious author;

Siga D., writer;

Aïda, photojournalist.


 Senegal, Paris, Buenos Aires, Latin America.

The time.

 Beginning of the 20th century until today.

The author.

 Mohamed Mbougar Sarr was born in 1990 in Senegal.

He studies in France.

He received several literary awards.

The most secret memory of men

 is his fourth novel.

This book was read

dazzled by the philosophical remarks (among others) on fate


interested in the intrigue, by the investigation, I want to find out who this famous TC Elimane is… and bewitched by the literary style of this important, moving novel , which touches the intimate.

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