Men ("Il faut beaucoup aimer les hommes"), by Marie Darrieussecq
In Men, Marie Darrieussecq writes about the adventures of Solange, “a woman ready to destroy the world to live out her love story”.
A prolific author
Since her first novel in 1996, Pig Tales (“Truismes”), Marie Darrieussecq has not stopped writing. Through her many novels – notably My Phantom Husband (“Naissance des fantômes”) (1998), The Country (“Le Pays”) (2005), Tom is Dead (“Tom est mort”) (2007), Men (2013) and Our Life in the Forest (“Notre vie dans les forêts”) (2017) –, the writer explores the different facets of love, from first passion to break-ups, via expectations and boredom, but also the question of womanhood.
Why this recurring theme? Marie Darrieussecq simply replied: “I write about womenhood because I am a woman.”
A stalemate of passion
A white actress falls in love with a black man. He has plans to make a film in Congo, and she decides to follow him. From Hollywood, where they met, to the African rainforest, Solange is consumed by her passion for Kouhouesso, while he thinks only about achieving his grand plan.
Although the mixed-race nature of the couple is one of the topics addressed in Men, in this book Marie Darrieussecq wants, above all, to talk about the notion of passion, described by the author as "a mirage in which we search for ourselves" and about Solange, who waits: she waits between shots on set and between meetings with her lover. She waits.
From Hollywood to Africa
To write Men, which she calls an adventure novel, Marie Darrieussecq traced the footsteps of her heroine, Solange. She first travelled to Los Angeles, where she explored the world of cinema and collected anecdotes that fuelled her imagination. There she was told that the project of her hero, Kouhouesso, was already a lost cause: for logistical reasons, filming in the Congo is almost impossible. Darrieussecq thus decided to move her hero’s film set to Cameroon.
The author then travelled to Equatorial Africa and discovered an unfamiliar world, “that of the African jet set”, which fascinated her.
A unanimous success
Released in 2013, Men has been remarkably successful. Nominated for the Prix Goncourt, the book received the Prix Médicis in the year of its publication.
Already translated and published around the world – her first novel, Pig Tales was notably nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in Ireland –, Marie Darrieussecq once again saw her work travel abroad as this novel has been translated into German, English, Korean, Danish and Japanese.
The international press praised the quality of the novel, in particular the Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir and the Pan-African Weekly Jeune Afrique.
Men (“Il faut beaucoup aimer les hommes”) has been translated into Korean with the support of the Institut français.
Through its translation support programmes, the Institut français participates in the global dissemination of French-language literature.