David Foenkinos: “My books so often speak of reconstruction, of the idea of ​​surviving an ordeal”

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David Foenkinos at the age of 5 and his brother (left), 11.

“I don’t have any childhood photos at home; everything must be in boxes, somewhere. So I go to my mother to try to get one, and I decide on the first one that comes to my mind. However, I am clearly the head. I could have chosen one a little more smiling, or in a glorious posture.

I must have had happy moments in my childhood. I am quite unable to say which beach my brother and I are on. We must probably be in the height of summer 1979. I am five years old and my brother is eleven.

“Without really coming from a cultural background, we find ourselves, by parallel paths, living for films and books. “

This photo touches me because, at this point, it is surely incongruous to imagine that we will end up working together. Impossible to know that we will make our first film, Delicacy (2011), thirty years later. Without really coming from a cultural background, we find ourselves, by parallel paths, living for films and books.

My brother discovered theater as a teenager; As for me, after a serious operation of the heart, I start reading frantically at 16 years old. While I have always felt that my novels were different from each other, I recently realized that they all reflected what I went through during my hospitalization. My books are so often about reconstruction, about the idea of ​​surviving an ordeal.

The last one is a new example since it evokes the fate of a young actor who was not chosen in the final of the casting of Harry Potter. I got the idea while reading an article on the genesis of the film, mentioning the hundreds of actors auditioned for the role, to retain only two at the end. The casting director specifies: “We chose Daniel Radcliffe because he had that little extra something.

It obsessed me to imagine the fate of the other. How could anyone spend so close to an incredible life? And how do you overcome a failure when the success of the other is constantly in your face? It is physically impossible to pass between the drops of Harry Potter.

The Taste of M

My novel therefore tells the story of the Other. Without realizing it, this subject still referred me to the bond I have with my brother. Dreaming of working in the cinema, he did all kinds of odd jobs, before making a decisive meeting: Jacques Doillon.

Read also Dorothée Gilbert, principal dancer: “My arabesques were a little stiff, my lines of legs were imperfect”

This is how he became a casting director, from Téchiné to Godard via Ozon. And then, later, for international productions. This is how he was in charge of finding the French roles of the fourth part of Harry Potter, such Clémence Poésy. All that, I could not know it on this beach. What was I thinking then? What had bothered me? We could write a novel from each photo. “

Number two, by David Foenkinos, Gallimard, 240 p., € 19.50. In bookstores on January 6.

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David Foenkinos: “My books so often speak of reconstruction, of the idea of ​​surviving an ordeal”

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