Last year, we seem to have missed Ernest Pépin’s latest novel: La Veuve aux mille rivières (published by Les Éditions Kalinas in April 2021).
Description: Denise is in pain. Denise no longer sleeps, she struggles to live, and she suffers from the loss of a part of herself. Denise feels incomplete and no longer knows how to “be.” Her husband, her other half, her double, her soul mate, suddenly passed away, leaving her distraught. Through a story told in the first person, Ernest Pépin chooses this time to plunge us in the thoughts of a woman who, immersed in a maelstrom of sadness, as best as she can, tries to tame her widowhood. Like Penelope desperately waiting for Ulysses to return to her in Ithaca, and Orpheus ready to bargain in Hell for his Eurydice to return, Denise wanders. She refuses to accept this death, which unbalances the foundations of existence: “People have no idea. They believe that to be a widow is only to lose someone who has been added to oneself. For me, it means the amputation of a being that is in me, that is me. He wanders somewhere in space and emits signals that I cannot perceive. Because he is nowhere, I see him everywhere. A leaf is moving—it’s him. The rain is pouring down—it’s him. A bird passes by—it’s him. An image haunts me—it’s him. The meal is burning—it’s him. A shape in the clouds—that’s him. Everywhere I look—it’s him. Him in all sauces.”
A new work by the best Antillean novelist, La Veuve aux mille rivières [The Widow of a Thousand Rivers] transports us to the intimacy of mourning, from inevitable denial to a redeeming acceptance. A logbook of a drifting soul, a cry of pain, and declaration of love, La Veuve aux mille rivières is the story of a crossing of darkness, a passage, and a transformation. A moving initiatory journey inviting us to reflect on the path from the existential to the essential, in order to become (again) masters of our destiny. Ernest Pépin delivers, without fail, the most beautiful work of his literary corpus and one of the most accomplished novels on the question of mourning and absence. He installs this novel as an indisputable candidate for the Prix Goncourt. This book is so emotionally powerful that it also elevates its author to a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Translation by Ivette Romero. See the original description at https://www.amazon.com/Veuve-aux-mille-rivi%C3%A8res-French/dp/2356829822