Notes and Narratives
Una Hunt and Mary Pierse
Assuaging Loss: Artistic Approaches by Neil Jordan and Françoise Lefèvre
Could there be a link between sea monsters and silences, and between them and music and famous paintings? However unlikely such connections might seem, they are artistically and novelistically achieved by two modern writers: by French author Françoise Lefèvre in Un album de silence [A Book of Silence] (2008) and by Neil Jordan in Sunrise with Sea Monster (1994). This chapter will examine how, while focusing on parent-child relationships, both books depict diverse reactions to loss, and embrace words, music and visual art as both supports and descriptive illustrations.
Françoise Lefèvre, born in 1942, has produced eighteen books since the 1970s. In 1975, La première habitude [The First Habit], about an ill-fated relationship between a young woman and a painter, was selected by the readers of the women’s magazine Elle for their Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle. In 1990 she was awarded the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens for Le Petit Prince Cannibale [The Cannibalistic Little Prince], which is an account of her struggle to bring up an autistic child. Born in 1950, Neil Jordan achieved fame as a writer very early on, with a collection of stories, Night in Tunisia, which won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1979. He has also written, directed and produced many films which have made him internationally famous. He is the author of five novels, Mistaken (2011) being the latest to date.
In Françoise Lefèvre’s book, Un album de silence...
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