Gilles Ortlieb, sea sponges and debts – Libération

Gilles Ortlieb, sea sponges and debts – Libération
Gilles Ortlieb, sea sponges and debts – Libération

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The Libé Books notebookdossier

Three works by the writer, with a dive into Greek waters, Baudelaire’s Brussels exile and many other travels.

In Salin-de-Giraud, in the Camargue, descendants of sponge fishermen speak Greek with a southern accent. Their ancestors come from the Dodecanese archipelago, and more specifically from the island of Kalymnos, which gave its name to a boulevard in this French town. The fire of Smyrna in 1922, a disease of the seabed… different elements pushed these future Camargue residents to leave. In Salt, the Lady and the Sponge, Gilles Ortlieb tells in his own precise and poetic way this mini-epic, which had extensions in Florida, in Tarpon Springs, a place which for a time became the Klondike of the sponge rush.

Three books by the writer and translator were published in the spring. The second is entitled Cabotages, and this is how we can read them, in a maritime stroll, without peril, from one mini-story to another. All or almost all address the question of exile, of displacement, and the author seems in this state of sensory acuity that transportation to other places brings. In Cabotages, some of whose pages have already been published in collective works or in magazines, we find Greece and the sponge fishermen. A country eminently dear to the author: during the confinement in France, he knew how to escape the ambient atony by locking himself in “a long-term translation, that of Days of George

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