‘La famille est une horrible blague' : Familles en crise dans les romans d’Elisa Brune

Verdier, Caroline (2014) ‘La famille est une horrible blague' : Familles en crise dans les romans d’Elisa Brune. Australian Journal of French Studies, 51 (1). pp. 88-99. ISSN 0004-9468

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Abstract

Belgian writer and journalist Elisa Brune (b. 1966) has often taken crisis as a starting point for her narratives, whether it is ‘la crise de quelqu’un qui n’a pas de problèmes’ in Petite révision du ciel or significant ones in the two novels we propose to study in this article. According to Elisa Brune, ‘la famille [est] une horrible blague’ and ‘une prison volontaire’ and we contend that her negative perspective on this topic, central to several of her novels, influences the representation she makes of it in her work. Whether Brune chooses to depict a nuclear, a recomposed or a single-parent family, she tends to put its flaws to the fore and to highlight the various conflicts which arise between its members. This article proposes to look at the representations of family crises in Brune’s Blanche cassé and La Tournante and show how both novels can be seen as providing the readership with a faithful, yet partial reflection of some family patterns and crises found in Belgium or France for instance. Although there is no outright judgment, Brune’s view is clear and these two novels can be understood as a criticism of the concept of family that Elisa Brune considers to be a mirage.