découvrir Philippe Besson

I read in English most of the time. Most books on my shelves originate either from the United States or the United Kingdom. Today I rarely read authors in my native language Dutch. There are only a limited number of books one can absorb; so hard choices have to be made. But these Flemish and Dutch authors inspired me to make reading a priority and passion.

Memoirs are my favourite genre. That private insight in someone’s life is so enriching. Lessons of life! Mainly women, and some gay authors. Especially the last are a mirror of my own life. A benchmark. And an invitation to write my own story in my private diary. The theme is often (their) coming of age. Read all of that, so now I’m looking for more matured stories.

Now living in Geneva, I visit different bookshops and par hassard at Payot, Rue de Rive, I stumbled upon the newest book by Philippe Besson “Paris-Besançon”. I so much loved the story, but also the simple but direct language the author uses. Looking into the other books he wrote, I was very much tempted to read “Un certain Paul Darrignan”, which tells the secrete love story between Philippe and a certain Paul. True love between two students, who in the end separated when they were 22. Besson evokes emotions in such a subtle, yet beautiful way. I rated the book 5 stars on Goodreads.

Besson also wrote “Diner à Montreal”, where Philippe and Paul meet again after all these years over diner, unexpectedly, and with their respective compagnons. Everything unfinished 18 years ago, is now on the table at the rare moments when the two lovers find themselves alone, when their respective partners go for a cigarette. A lot to settle. A lot!

Besson calls the books “auto fictional”, so I’m still in the dark to what is real and what is fictional. But does it matter? The emotions were so strong and transposable to other lives, to other love stories.

Besson is around my age and we have a lot in common. We are male, well educated, a solid job, … and we share the love for men. Have someone my age reflecting his current and past adventures is helpful in defining my own story.

There is more I have to read from this author.

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