Translated by Penny Hueston
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.
‘There are few writers who may have changed my perception of the world, but Darrieussecq is one of them.’
‘The internationally celebrated author who illuminates those parts of life other writers cannot or do not want to reach.’
‘Compelling…Anyone who has experienced heartbreak will relate…A moody, powerful book.’
‘This is an atmospheric novel, written in prose that is at once evocative and compulsive…For those in the market for a nuanced and thought-provoking dissection of race and gender relations and who are willing to risk being infuriated, Men is an easy and engaging read.’
‘As a chronicle of the humiliations and occasional joys of loving someone whose own feelings are more ambiguous…it feels queasily accurate…A sometimes biting, often sharply observed take on a relationship one would surely rather read about than be part of.’
‘An intelligent critique of the intersection between the personal and political, a funny and moving love story, a gorgeous portrayal of the film-making scene, Men is a singular achievement from a writer of enormous talent ’
‘[Readers will] find themselves enchanted by Darrieussecq’s silken, dreamy prose and this sly exploration of female desire and interracial couplings.’