Camille in October
‘My father is dead, I just killed him’. Camille struggles to figure out who she is and where she fits in the world. She is a young lesbian woman coming of age in a coastal, working-class neighbourhood in 1950s France. Her mother holds the family together. Her father, a war veteran, is largely silent except when his inner rage erupts in violence. Her sister, Ariane, provides comic relief, while her brother, Abel, a construction worker, is a lost soul who suffers from severe seizures. Camille herself can usually be found curled up with a book taking it all in. But an intellectual and sexual relationship with her dentist’s wife opens a world of new possibilities to Camille. Where will this lead her? Suicide, murder, accidental death—all are possible in this unconventional narrative. As a young adult, Camille is not always the most reliable narrator, but she is one that charms with her intelligence, her lack of pretention and her strong sense of connection to her roots. With her, we readers embark on a fundamental—and universal—quest to balance where we come from with who we need to become.
‘Amid misery, love as a passage to life—emotional and cultural—gives this story its power and its originality. To achieve this required an exacting sensitivity. Here is the true success of this novelist.’ —Le Monde
‘Schechner [. . .] has written often about Best/LeMarchand and her portrayals of young, queer, working-class women in France’s coastal communities, knowledge that informs her shaping of this bracingly fresh coming-of-age story.’ —LitHub
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