Today I read Beside the Sea by Véronique Olmi.
Here’s an outline:
A mother and her two young sons on a trip to the seaside, the rain is pouring, outside … and inside. They stay on the 6th floor of a brown hotel, there is no light anywhere, and their room is hardly larger than the bed inside it. The boys worries about what they will tell their teachers, taking off in mid-season like this - .
I can’t remember any book making me as sad as this, but Beside the Sea is so well written that it actually makes the pain meaningful. In a strange way I identify with this desperate mother, I become her, and I become her hopeless kids. Captured by and in this woman’s madness. It’s heartbreaking!
We see the world through the eyes of the mother; she is giving the nature an almost human quality:
It was still raining outside, the same monotonous rain, this town had no imagination, it could only do rain.
The story is narrated in a seemingly simple way, from a first person perspective. But it’s still, even if it’s simple, very visual. I almost feel I see the tale as much as I read it.
Véronique Olmi was born in 1962. She is a highly acclaimed French dramatist and her twelve plays have won numerous awards. Bord de Mer (Beside the Sea), published in 2001, was her first novel.