Novels from here: O superficial world!

What a crossing this Floridian novel! It first makes you smile, gradually makes you cynical, then leads to disenchantment.

Novels from here: O superficial world!

What a crossing this Floridian novel! It first makes you smile, gradually makes you cynical, then leads to disenchantment. All crossed by a wisdom from ancient times.

In Babylon Cove, a complex in Fort Lauderdale, resides a small community of Quebec celebrities: journalist, filmmaker, artist agent, animator, ex-minister and everything.

This elite runs on m'as-tu-vu. Precisely, during this holiday season, she is waiting for an invitation to the big end-of-year party given by M.L., the richest man in Quebec.

What baseness she could accomplish in order not to be forgotten! Like showering attention on their neighbor, Maude Bélanger. This singer-songwriter, who has had immense success, is the great friend of Mr. L's wife. In other words, the key to entering paradise!

In the meantime, the clique is dizzy: running the sales, keeping your complexion well botoxed, going to the casino... It's a whirlwind of such superficiality that it sinks into vulgarity. Even Marc, the intellectual filmmaker, is no exception. He may immerse himself in the reflections of Seneca, his laziness contributes to the climate of decadence.

The resistance is organized

Everything, in fact, is low level babbling, sufficiency and overconsumption. It's as funny as it is pathetic.

But the resistance is organized. It will come from Peeters, a defrocked monk and new husband of Hélène, the star journalist; of Alexander, cynical son of Helen; and Rose, the rebellious adopted daughter of Marc and Louise, Quebec's most renowned talent agent.

Their benchmarks are already the reading of philosophers or the asceticism of religion, accurately exposed. But their gaze will become more and more implacable with regard to those around them thanks to their encounters off the beaten track by tourists.

Everyone in turn encounters a world of marginalized and left behind that reinforces the image of spoiled children that emerges from the small band of Babylon Cove.

All of this converges towards a finale worthy of a contemporary version of the great stories of forfeiture. One thinks of the Apocalypse or Dante's Inferno. It takes breath to make us believe it; but the author is superbly endowed with it!

This is the first novel by Guillaume Sylvestre, a documentarian with an unvarnished gaze, and he tells this story in a language where the ordinary of the dialogues rubs shoulders with the high tone of the narration. The vocabulary is then researched, sprinkled with rare words that revive the forgotten richness of French.

His words also force us to face a society that is sinking into ridiculous paradises. Aren't our Western societies overwhelmed with trinkets and nonchalance, the obsession with eternal youth and the desire for recognition?

We understand that the celebrities pinned by Sylvestre have their counterpart in reality, but the questions he raises concern us all.

From this devastating story, therefore, ends up emanating a need to get back to basics before it is too late. The lesson is as hard as the demonstration is brilliant.

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