It is certainly one of the most disturbing and disconcerting works of this literary season, Enfant de bastard by journalist Sorj Chalandon. He officiated for more than thirty-four years with the daily Liberation, with an often acerbic pen. He now contributes to the Chained Duck, always with the same ardor and the same intentional persuasion.


Jean-Luc Favre





Jean-Luc Favre

Also a former major reporter, Sorj Chalandon received the Albert-Londres Prize in 1988. Author to date of ten novels, all published by Grasset, and multiple times awarded with numerous literary prizes among the most prestigious: Prix Médicis with A promise, published in 2006, Grand prix du roman de l’Académie française for Retour à Killibegs in 2011, and Goncourt prize for high school students for the Fourth Wall, still in 2011. A particularly edifying prize list, let’s face it! Just the return of a talent that affirms its ideas loud and clear, without ever denying the sources of an imagination that aims to be more realistic than flamboyant, although!

An expression that is not necessarily complimentary, even literally insulting to the one who receives it in the face, sometimes as a reproach, sometimes as a grim fatality. “Traitor”, “collaborator”, “sold”, or other related linguistic devices which leave no doubt as to their origin. The son of a bitch, if he is not the promoter of wrongdoing or else criminal, would he ultimately be a victim? It is indeed possible!

And in this case the facts are checked with a magnifying glass. A real nightmare for the hardworking discoverer, responsible for his own survival! A lying father, fabricator of uncertain causes, mystifier of personal history; as much to say it a father a little crazy. A deviously invented story reinterpreted, silently transmitted to whoever will hear it and believe it really exists; to swallow everything in a single stroke without denying anything of the existing.

Facts, nothing but facts, testimonies and police reports from the time on the conviction register, during one of the darkest periods in our history when thousands of French people took the wrong side. That of shame. “From your time before the Court of Justice, almost nothing remains. A bewildered and deceived son who sets foot in the dish, years later, through a moral suffering that is difficult to contain. Almost torture, with the idea of ​​telling the truth and making it public in the background, without really caring about the real consequences. Writing the truth is never easy, especially when it concerns you directly.

There are inevitably risks and unfortunate returns, including within his close entourage, when this entourage still exists.

So the story of these two men, father and son, could begin in a dark hubbub of questioning family history. “The file of the Court of Justice of Lille, which was devoted to him, was kept in the Departmental Archives of the North under the number 9W56. I was able to open it on May 18, 2020, six years after its disappearance. Thanks to the work, attention and delicacy of Mireille Jean, Director of Archives, and her team, “writes Chalandon. The father is already dead to him. In Lyon on March 21, 2014, interned at Vinatier psychiatric hospital – at the age of 92.

An internment which is ultimately nothing trivial, and which follows decades of haunting for the person who some would readily qualify as a “little thug”. Just that, engulfed in the twists and turns of a vain hope chasing after two countries and never changing their mind, Germany and France, playing here on all the tables of incomprehension and deadly disaster. Which side to choose then, when a country is properly defeated, cut in two by a dark treaty, and whose moral scars sometimes leave only dying traces in a memory tarnished by defeat? He, the almost traitor, the almost collaborator, who tells his young child stories that only exist in his confused mind.

The kid really thinks his father is a bastard, a handsome bastard! The son is no fool, he knows the meaning of history perfectly well. He is often the one who writes it. Waffen SS, Charlemagne or Tricolor Legion, the TODT organization the NSKK, Nationalsozialistische kraftarkorps or National Socialist Transport Corps, Russia, Berlin and its sad Bunker, and then the Resistance, accidental or voluntary, the Communist Party. Lille, etc. “He saved people, but he never told me. The son stirred the pile of manure. He has plunged himself into the greatest dismay. He no longer sleeps at night, he is angry with his father. “Why did you lie to me? Frankly I didn’t deserve this. Being ignorant of my own history. Your Story, our Story, with a capital H. And mom? “

For years, I had agreed to follow you so as not to upset you, to hurt you, to force you to take refuge even further into this imaginary world. Your lies were a matter of survival for me. But to me, they were your death row. That’s why I wanted to impose the truth on you. And too bad if to unmask you was to condemn us both.

It was following an investigation launched in 1983 by Judge Christian Riss, with three charges: the roundup of the General Union of Israelites of France, January 9, 1943, the roundup of the children of Izieu on August 6, 1944, the last convoy leaving Lyon for Auschwitz on August 11, 1944 – completed by a judgment dated December 20, 1985 for acts of arrest, torture, and deportation of Jews and resistance fighters taken in isolation, which officially opens the Klaus Barbie trial on May 19, 1987 before the Rhone Assize Court, until July 3, 1987, which resulted in the accused’s life imprisonment, in front of more than 900 journalists present.

113 associations and individuals filed a civil suit. Judges, André Cerdini, president of the Assize Court, prosecutors, Pierre Truche, assisted by his deputy Jean-Olivier Viout, famous lawyers or not who will compete for several months, to name only Jacques Vergès, Serge Klarsfeld, and Roland Dumas, and of course survivor victims, whose individual or collective stories depending on the circumstances will shudder, and who will demonstrate that barbarism has hardly any limits in this world. We are not born a bastard, we become it!

And the son is there, he is part of the journalistic cohort – but also the father, on the lookout for the slightest testimony and its countless contradictions, contrite gestures and words bruised by the weight of the past. Tortures, humiliations, are also in the dock. Does he admire Barbie for all that? The father makes it appear, the son hardly dares to interfere, he is a bastard child, he knows it now.

A dialogue of the deaf begins, the reproaches of the second, the certainties of the first, in a cacophony, which bears no name, except that of resentment or incomprehension. The son discovers, the father who maintains his story, in a particularly incredible verbal violence. Does the son still love his father? At the heart of a pattern of contradictions that suggests that this war will have had unprecedented and barely believable setbacks. This novel testifies to it in a style within everyone’s reach, but which hurts the conscience and “wounded bodies”.

Allow the chronicler to speak a little about him. I myself belong to a family of resistance fighters, Auguste Mudry, medalist of the French resistance, Croix de Guerre. Philodin Mudry, his brother tortured and exterminated, at the castle of Hartheim in Germany, at the age of 24, medalist of the resistance, Fernand Utille, my uncle, arrested by denunciation, tortured, and shot at the Col du Saint Bernard in Savoy , at the age of 32, Died for France, my father, Combatant’s Cross, born in 1924, volunteered in the elite section of Eclaireurs Skieurs called SES. I have carried within me since childhood the genes of combat and bruising.

To me, no one lied to me! So I didn’t suffer from any deception inaudible to the understanding. I know where I am from and now I also know where I am going. Do I have hatred for all that? Well, imagine I’m not sure. By reading this novel in one go without ever stopping, I even felt compassion for this unworthy father and I also tried clumsily, but not without respect, to put myself in the shoes of the cheated son. . Today as of this writing, I am not experiencing anything. A great void has settled in me. Almost a relief. Why ?

Or as the lawyer Jacques Vergès said, whom Chalandon had quoted in his book Crimes contre l’Humanité: Barbie, Touvier, Bousquet, Papon, co-wrote with Pascale Nivelle: “We are leaving the temporal to break into divine law. Pull yourself together! There is no sacrilege. There is a spell! Barbie is a tailor-made devil. “

Klaus Barbie died in Lyon on September 25, 1991, imprisoned in Saint-Paul prison. He was 77 years old.

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09/13/2021, 14:56

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09/12/2021, 14:02

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09/09/2021, 09:36

The Pasvik River flows north, towards the Barents Sea. North of the tip of northern Norway. Over nearly a hundred kilometers, it marks the border between Norway and Russia. An area disrupted during the Second World War. A region which retains the memory of fascism and communism, conflicting relations, the Cold War, east-west antagonisms and which still remains one of the first points of friction between the two blocs …

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09/07/2021, 09:19

The pre-election seasons are a regular opportunity to see the works of future candidates, and even candidates for candidacy, flourish. Noel Mamère is none of these, however, since he is no longer running for office. So would he have released his book long before the national deadline of 2022 to stand out from the flood of publications that are sure to cover bookstore shelves?

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09/06/2021, 10:23

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09/01/2021, 08:00

This decolonial guide takes us to the Porte Dorée side, in Paris, to visit a “colonial triangle” made up of three monuments that offer a digest of the colonial, cultural, economic, racial and political history of France. We will come across a huge fresco featuring, “the air of nothing”, the extractivist economy based on slavery and forced labor in the colonies, a monument that is regularly the subject of anti-colonialist actions, and a statue of Athena representing “France bringing peace and prosperity to the colonies”.

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GOOD SHEETS – On the occasion of this new literary season, Gallimard editions are offering readers the next novel by Gilles Paris. Love, Sex and Friendship: a novel about teens, for teens, with true characters who reflect the concerns of today’s youth.

08/30/2021, 07:00

For the literary season, the Noir sur Blanc editions include in their collection Notabilia, the new novel Because Venus brushed against a cyclamen on the day of my birth of Mona Høvring. A finalist for the Booksellers ‘Award, he won the 2018 Critics’ Award. “Dark and brooding Ella, and bright and impulsive Martha are as different as two sides of the same coin. “

08/27/2021, 07:33

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08/27/2021, 07:04

Jack Hirschman died on Sunday August 22 at his home on Union Street in San Francisco. The 87-year-old author had contracted a cold, as his wife explained: the cause of death remains unknown. Former poet laureate of the city from 2006 to 2009, he left behind a career that lasted more than 50 years, producing a hundred publications.

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GOOD SHEETS – For this new literary season, Le Nouvel Attila editions are publishing the second novel by Quebec author Kevin Lambert. “What we carry is too big and the world too small. Destruction is our way of building. “

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08/26/2021, 07:21

For the literary re-entry, Éditions Hors’atteinte is publishing the third part of Mehdi Charef’s trilogy: La Cité de mon père, on his childhood and adolescence. This new volume takes place in the HML, so much dreamed of and hoped for, after having experienced life in a slum and a transit city.

08/26/2021, 07:17

For the literary season, Sabine Wespieser Editeur publishes the second novel by Jan Carsosn: The fire launchers, translated from English by Dominique Goy-Blanquet. This book, steeped in the brutality of the Irish Troubles, engages its characters in a similar context, which echoes the own violence of their personal history.

08/26/2021, 07:01

GOOD SHEETS – On the occasion of this next literary season, Editions du Rocher is publishing the new novel by Marin de Viry. A story to be read as an incentive to choose the “possibility of running away” and “castle life”, far from the comfort zones where you bury yourself …

08/25/2021, 08:01

GOOD SHEETS – On the occasion of this next literary season, Sabine Wespieser Editeur publishes the next novel by Vincent Robel. That evening in December 1889, on the quays of Cadiz, the silhouette of a small middle-aged man, wearing a tired felt hat, too narrow for his imposing forehead, catches the eye. Charles Sannois, who claims to be a wine merchant, fled Paris, mourning his mother’s loss and an Asian flu epidemic spreading around the world. He waits to embark for the Canaries, yearning for the azure and peace.

08/25/2021, 07:54

GOOD SHEETS – On the occasion of this next literary season, the Bouquins Editions are publishing. In the tradition of the novels of Elfriede Jelinek (Nobel Prize for Literature 2004), the story of a family lock-up and a search for identity at the heart of an Austrian society haunted by its history.

08/25/2021, 07:17

GOOD SHEETS – Fazil, the young narrator of this book, goes to study letters far from home. Having become a scholarship holder after the death of his father, he rents a room in a modest pension, a faded place where unforgettable beings with poetic gravity rub shoulders, who try to slip through the cracks of a city inhabited by threatening presences. Ahmet Altan, recently released from Turkish jails, signs his return to the novel with Madame Hayat. For those who remember that this book was written in prison, the emotion runs deep.

08/24/2021, 15:40

GOOD SHEETS – On the occasion of this next literary season, Les Escales editions are publishing the new novel by American actress Lydia Millet. A powerful novel about adolescent alienation and adult complacency in a changing world, National Book Award finalist.

08/24/2021, 07:28

For the literary re-entry, La Manufacture de livres publishes the first novel, Poudre blanche, sable d’or, by Matthieu Luzak. In this book, the author tells in a musical style, the story of his characters, on a journey to Malage, where they share together their dreams and their bitter disillusions.

08/24/2021, 07:09

With Au Fil de l’Eau. Reflection on a Masonic path, Guy Lecourt delivers his own testimony concerning his membership in the Grand Orient de France, the oldest Masonic obedience. Through this story, he aspires to restore the image of these Orders considered to be evil sects. “In reality, Freemasonry is an initiatory path meant to improve Man and society. “

08/23/2021, 11:55

Now is the time for caregivers to make their voices heard. For this, Laurent Manchon and Cécile Pont jointly wrote From Shadow to Light, edited by Du Net. An evocative title that contains both the difficulties of supporting people with disabilities, but also all the love present in this reality. Working in the shadows, ignored by all, this testimony seeks to reflect the daily life of these caregivers, and their feeling of abandonment.

08/23/2021, 11:10

From the fears of crossing to Italy, to life in detention centers, to moonlighting in a marble factory, to a trip to Marseille hidden in the dumpster of a truck, Said Saad traces the process of the collapse of the dream of a beautiful Europe for some or, for others, its sedative side which pushes to continue the journey.

08/23/2021, 11:08

GOOD SHEETS – For this new literary season, Matin Calme editions are releasing the next novel by author and director You Sun-Dong. This work offers readers a dive into the world of cinema, which the author knows well …

08/23/2021, 10:52

On August 18, Jill Murphy, a British children’s author and illustrator, died at the age of 72 of cancer in Cornwall Hospital. Murphy wrote and illustrated the Worst Witch series when she was 18, translated into French by Jean-François Ménard, the Mr. Harry Potter of the Gallimard youth editions, under the title of Amandine Malabul, awkward witch.

08/21/2021, 09:35

GOOD SHEETS – For this new literary season, the Michalon Editeur editions invite you to learn more about homeopathy. Where is she from ? What are its regulations? Why does it divide doctors so much? Neither entirely medicine nor completely complementary medicine, homeopathy finds itself in an uncomfortable in between that makes it a subject of controversy.

08/20/2021, 17:37

Related title :
Child of Bastard, of Sorj Chalandon: Klaus Barbie, unexampled father
“Bastard’s child”: father’s desertions
The literary selection for this fall!