She had a father who only read the newspaper "Paris Normandie": the cartoonist Florence Cestac tells of a youth which strongly recalls that of another Norman, the novelist Annie Ernaux.
“Un papa, une maman, une famille formidable” (Dargaud), an album which continues the autobiographical exploration of the author of “Filles des oiseaux”, is released on Friday.
Florence Cestac sketches the skittish character of an engineer father who firmly believes in the virtues of patriarchy: to him the word, the checkbook and the power of decision.
And especially not the books.
"I don't think he read any, because he never told me about it. Only his diary. There were no books in my house: there was nothing, no music, no openness to culture, "she recalls, interviewed by AFP.
This is also what Annie Ernaux tells in "Pourquoi lire", a collection published on January 21 by Éditions Parallèle, in which 13 authors answer this question.
"I am between fifteen and eighteen years old. I had to reproach my father for + not being interested in anything, + for only reading Paris-Normandie, the regional newspaper. Him, so calm and so conciliatory Usually towards my insolence as an only daughter, answers me harshly: + Books are good for you. I don't need them to live + ", writes the novelist.
"As soon as I learned to read, at six, I was drawn to everything that was written and within reach of my comprehension, from the dictionary to the books in the Green Library," she explains.
"I understood very well what my father wanted to say. Reading Alexandre Dumas, Flaubert, Camus, would not have been of any practical use in his job as a coffee maker".
- Culturally, "nothing" -
No use either for Jacques Cestac, drawn as very invested in his work as an executive during the day, magnetized by his chair at night and absent at weekends to practice his favorite pastime, hunting.
When he is less busy after his retirement, he will never open a single comic book written by his daughter.
"My mother read them. It was my father who was not interested (...) We never agreed, never found. I never had a comment from my father. And the only thing of which he was proud one day, is that I made a few vignettes in the Larousse dictionary. So there, I was someone more or less respectable ", deplores Florence Cestac.
"I found myself in Annie Ernaux's books. A lot," she says, despite the difference in social class.
The Cestacs, in Pont-Audemer (Eure), had a beautiful house, a car and a second home on the Atlantic coast.
For Annie Ernaux's family, the Duchêne, on the other side of the Seine in Yvetot (Seine-Maritime), this luxury was out of reach.
"We were raised, we were well dressed, we had food. But culturally speaking there was nothing, nothing ... So I was bored a lot", says the cartoonist.
The vocation, for her, appeared very early.
"My notebooks were studded with drawings. Physically I was there in the classroom, but my head was elsewhere, drawing stories. Thank God, I was able to go to the Beaux-Arts because there was no no need for the bac at the time and I had the competition. There, life was enlightened ".
Annie Ernaux will not have the chance to have her father read her work, she recalls in "Why read".
"I started writing when I was around twenty. I sent a manuscript of a novel to a publisher who refused it. My mother was disappointed, my father not, almost relieved. He died five years before that. I have a first published book ".
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