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  • Today, "The Victor Sommer case" by Vincent Delareux, published on May 25, 2022 by Éditions L'Archipel.

Marceline Bodier, bookstagramer and contributor to the

20 Minutes

Books reading group, recommends Le cas Victor Sommer by Vincent Delareux, Librinova 2020 star prize published on May 25, 2022 by Éditions L'Archipel.

His favorite quote:

“That is the problem with disappearances: they plunge us into an uncomfortable in-between.

The missing individual is as present as it is absent.


Why this book?

  • Because before our helpless eyes, the text implacably unfolds

    a case of unbearable fusion between a son and his mother.

    We see everything: Victor's thought and his implacable logic, but also the madness of this logic which interprets everything, from Eugenie to "the man from the kiosk".

    We even see by what reversal the executioner simultaneously embodies the savior of the one he has destroyed… Nothing is spared us, and we can only suffer the torture of seeing this mechanism unfold to its end.

    This is not a psychological novel, but a psychoanalytical textbook case!

  • Because despite that, if Victor Sommer was a character

    from mythology, it wouldn't be Oedipus (he doesn't marry his mother).

    If it was a founding myth of psychoanalysis, it wouldn't be little Hans (he doesn't know his father).

    If it was a novel character, it wouldn't be Emma Bovary (“prisoner of a life that didn't suit him”? Come on, it's more complicated than that…).

    You're probably beginning to understand why Victor Sommer is a case, aren't you?

    He evokes many others, but he is a new archetype of all of these put together.

  • Because part of the story is revealed early on,

    and many of you will quickly guess the rest.

    And yet... if I were to tell you that there is a tension that is only growing, because we have a presentiment of several possible outcomes and that above all we don't want to believe in any... or at least in one, which is looming during a totally improbable moment of thinning, but which turns out to be there only to disappoint the last hope that we had that Victor would come out “differently”.

    Conclusion: this novel is a jewel of test for our nerves of reader!

  • Because Amélie Nothomb places

    Le cas Victor Sommer



    The Gospels




    The Gospels?

    Victor, who is 33 years old at the time of the story, would he be a new Christ?

    Ooh there.

    No, you are mistaken!

    Could his mother, who is 66, be a new Antichrist?

    Oh hey!

    I hadn't thought of it, but since you say so... In any case, what I can tell you is that the author thinks that part of the population will elevate Victor "to the rank of martyr". ".

    Only one part, because not everyone will agree: here's a good start to becoming a myth...

  • Because you will also ask me why




    I was just afraid that you would ask me this question… but yes, of course, I understand the association of ideas that the lady in the hat makes, and you will too!

    A man under the control of his mother even when she has disappeared, a man who sleeps next to a Swiss army knife that he thinks he inherited from his father to protect himself from recurring nightmares: the ingredients are there.

    But the story that Vincent Delareux draws from it is not that of Psychosis.

    And since I can't tell you more… all you have to do is read the book!

The essentials in 2 minutes

The plot.

Victor Sommer's mother is missing.

Her son doesn't know how to live without her: “Victor, do you really love your mother?

This direct question did not appeal to me very much.

So I bypassed it.

“Mom loves me very much,” I said.

Is this disappearance his chance, or his tragedy?


Perhaps the author of


was sensitive to the presence of God in the novel?

At least, to that of the desire to become God, that is to say to take one's life in hand.

Eugenie pushes Victor to become that kind of God.

You don't think she's going to make it.

But if you knew how...


Victor lives with his mother, and he has funny dreams in their house: dreams of the ocean that wants to drown him (hey, dreams of a murderous “sea”?)… of a drawer that contains dangerous symbols of his father unknown… Does that scare you?

As you are right...

The time.

Victor Sommer is a case: therefore understand that it is a myth, and that a myth does not live at any time and at all at the same time.

The last time we had heard of a case of the same kind, it was Oedipus… he has changed a lot, but don't believe that his story has become more bearable!

The author.

Vincent Delareux was born in 1997, and Le cas Victor Sommer is his first novel.

He is younger than his characters, yet the human soul seems to have no secrets for him.

No wonder he wowed the Librinova star prize jury!

This book was read with

a mixture of awe and admiration.

The double meanings and the double discourses flow in such a natural way that one can only be seized by them.

We can only wish Vincent Delareux a career like that of Amélie Nothomb, who dubbed him!

Buy this book at Fnac

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