Novel (in French)
Grasset – 2002
Here is a subtly composed novel, and written in a tone whose cruelty is marvelous. Its title in English could be “Spouse Program».
Its frame ? A hotel in La Baule, like « Relais et Chateau », where a large multinational company gathers its executives and their wives for one of these seminars where we will talk about “synergy” and “competitiveness”. Heroes ? Executives, precisely, torn by stress, ambition, envy, depression. In this group portrait, the author favors three couples who will each find themselves at the center of each of the three parties who distribute this novel. For each of these couples, everything is not going well. There, a bovaryse wife, who decides to leave her husband in front of her colleagues amused. Here, another wife, rather neglected, falls in love with a stranger who, unfortunately for her, will reveal her homosexuality belatedly.
Elsewhere, on the way back, a cadre, in full “mid-life crisis”, begins to cry as his life, suddenly, appears empty .. Between these three couples – whose women are, each time, the first plan – intrigues are knotted and answered.
They are, successively, observed from the inside, then from the outside, according to a very cinematographic “montage”. Basically, the novelist wanted to show the finger, and the style, the incredible sentimental distress that governs the lives of beings, even if they are privileged and emblematic of a sociology where we have “succeeded”. It’s ruthless, precise, perverse. From sex to money, from vanity to boredom, the author explores everything. We want to laugh, however, in front of this mirror whose frankness hurts …