Reading for pleasure
Advanced search

An upside-down world


Stanislas is a ruthless Parisian stockbroker. Dédé is a homeless man – and a bit of a poet – who lives on the street, downstairs the businessman’s Paris apartment building. That world order seemed unshakable.

And then suddenly, a record-breaking heatwave hits the country and turns the world upside down. Between panic in the stock markets, electrical outages and fuel shortages, the climatic cataclysm is so huge that chaos reigns, and people take to the road. Stanislas and his wife are thrown into this unprecedented climatic exodus. They ask Dédé to cobble together a few bikes. Their goal is to reach the farm Stanislas and his wife had bought – as trendy investors – in the countryside.

The trip is a nightmare. Patrick, the farmer in charge of the land, receives them coldly. Between Stanislas, Sophie, Dédé, and Patrick, the cohabitation gets off to a rocky start. But in this upside-down world, the most stubborn certitudes will be shaken. And friendships that were once unlikely are formed to combat a cataclysm no one thought could ever happen.

A strong and positive message about ecology and the future of the world
A novel that is both sober and humorous

Nicolas Vanier sounds the alarm about the dramatic deterioration of our environment. He calls for a constructive ecology that prolongs what Pierre Rahbi, the Philosopher-Farmer, named a “Happy Sobriety.”

“All my life I’ve observed nature with my eyes and also my heart. The present worries me terribly. But mustn’t we smile at the absurdity of life in order to comprehend the magnitude of the impending chaos?” NICOLAS VANIER

Author's interview

In concrete terms, what does an upside-down world mean?

With this novel, I adress a topis that worries me a lot: the people we designate as “climate refugees.” Their number is increasing by tens of thousands every day. Because — and it’s completely unfair — it’s not in the countries that caused the warming of the planet that the disastrous effects are being felt the most. There will come a time, and this time is imminent, when tens, hundreds of thousands of people won’t be able to live where they do now. And all because of us!

Let’s turn our attention to Stanislas, your hero. He is successful and has an enviable position in life…

Yes, he’s a broker who started out with nothing. He worked like a madman to create a shelter for himself. He so rich that he thinks he’ll be protected from everything. But he can’t protect himself from what has begun to happen around him. Because as the native people told us very early on, the day we run out of water there will be no more forests, and then what good is all that money? You won’t be able to buy water
or buy back the trees.

This cataclysm alters his view of the world and his relationship with others…

When this kind of chaos erupts, it reveals who we really are, the good and the bad. Indeed, the moral of this story is that we can’t get out of this predicament without solidarity — a rare commodity these days.

Does this mean that at this time, we are all gripped by blindness and our egos?

We don’t think of the other, we don’t open our eyes to what is happening to our world, or rarely, and then with outsized self-interest. Self-interest rather than concern for future generations’ lives, or their survival for that matter.

On the other hand, the younger generation is not afraid to sound the alarm. This is hopeful, isn’t it?

Young people around the world are saying: “You want us to go to school to prepare for our future, but we don’t want the world you are preparing for us.” I think that’s a strong message.

lire toute l’interview


By continuing your browsing on this site, you accept the use of cookies in order to obtain traffic statistics. Read more about it