The French title of Men plays on a quote by Marguerite Duras: We have to love men a lot. A lot, a lot. Love them a lot in order to love them. Otherwise it’s impossible, we couldn’t bear them.‘
With her characteristic intensity, edginess and humour, Marie Darrieussecq explores female desire, what it means to be a woman. Solange was a provincial teenager in All the Way; now in her thirties, she’s not a great mother, is a mediocre actress, but in Hollywood she falls for a charismatic actor, Kouhouesso, who wants to direct a movie of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness—in Africa. He’s black; she’s white—what’s the difference when it comes to love, she wonders?
Solange follows her man to Africa, determined to play a main role in both his film and his affections. But nothing goes to plan in this brilliantly droll examination of romance, movie-making and clichés about race relations. After all, there’s no guarantee you’ll be loved by the one you love.
Personal and political, passionate and engaged, Men is a novel that will make you see things differently.
Winner, Prix Médicis, Prix des Prix, France, 2013