Friday, July 28, 2017
Maylis de Kerangal - Réparer Les Vivants (Gallimard, 2014) ****
A young man dies. A woman needs a heart. This is the incredibly moving story of a heart transplant. Simon dies during a surfing accident. It is the story of his parents, who rush to the hospital. It is the story of the surgeon who wants to do a good job. It is the story of the young nurse with her own problems. It is the story of the young doctor who has to ask the parents to decide then and there to donate the boy's organs, while his body is kept on an artificial breathing machine. It is the story of Claire, who receives the heart.
It is all one story. One day. With a full description of all the medical processes and procedures, in detail. It is factual and cold. It is even without emotion, like a job that needs to be done, a product that needs to be produced by a machine. Hanging around this medical trajectory of the heart from one body to the other body, there is the deep emotional description of the different protagonists's lives, all of them presented by the omnicient narrator as if they all are the lead character. The contrast is fascinating, the writing is subtle and sensitive.
De Kerangal writes with an uncanny precision both to describe the actions of the humans who go their way, as their emotions and thoughts. She does not offer answers. She offers choices. Terrifying choices.