2011 GONCOURT DEBUT NOVEL PRIZE
“Eleven days after I died, Dad took my blanket to the dry cleaner’s. Walking up the Rue du Couedic, his nose buried in my bedding. He’s telling himself he’s smelling my smell, when in fact it stinks, since I never actually washed the sheets, or the blanket. He’s not shocked by it anymore, on the contrary. He’s carrying the little bit of me that is left in the smell between the sheets as if he were carrying a sacred cloth. He’s crying, his face hidden in the cotton. He’s immersing himself in it. Finally, after one last sniff, he enters the shop.
He can’t put it off anymore. Condolences, etc. The dry cleaner – condolences again, etc.- takes the blanket from Dad. Dad wanted more than anything for it to last longer, a queue, a delivery, a storm, so he could have a few precious moments to breathe in my smell. Dad is laid bare, he’s losing, he’s losing…”
Michel Rostain captivates us with the story of an unthinkable sorrow. With modesty and finesse, he reveals to us the twists and turns of a father’s boundless love for his son.
“In this utterly unusual book, Michel Rostain speaks of the unspeakable, thinks the unthinkable, and manages to cast a gentle light upon a monstrous phenomenon – the brutal disappearance of an adult child. I read it six times, and cried every time. More surprisingly, I also laughed every time. And every time, I closed the book feeling grateful to the author for reminding us of all the ways in which, in spite of grief, the beauty and miracle of love enriches us.”
“The Son is full of life, dark humour, and boundless love, as he helps us understand how we can overcome the odds, and live with “it”.