Emmanuelle Lambert, the false ingenue

Emmanuelle Lambert, the false ingenue
Emmanuelle Lambert, the false ingenue

We meet her in a city where she is not used to it. Bordeaux, where her publisher has invited her to present her book to the booksellers of Aquitaine. On the terrace of a café in the city center, facing the blond stone of the Grand-Théâtre de Victor Louis, smiling, often funny, she submits to the question with a good humor that we quickly suspect could be one of her trademarks. In fact, her “latest born”, this enchanting No respectundoubtedly inspires many feelings but not melancholy. She says she wrote it to question herself about “what’s happening between the sexes right now”but it is then like a hidden pattern in the carpet, as the book is first and foremost that of a generation before #MeToo. “I was from the generation of this world that is tottering”she says. 25 years old in the year 2000. 24 when she met Alain Robbe-Grillet. Not bad for a start in life and career. Emmanuelle Lambert was making her debut at Imec when the author of Gums donated his archives to the institute. She, who admits to having never read anything by him at the time, was put in charge of the file. From this ogre, more good-natured than she could have imagined, she would learn that literature is first and foremost a practice and that any boundary between life and work is futile. Robbe-Grillet (“everything interests him”) dazzles him with his intelligence. She says again: “I didn’t have a relationship with Alain Robbe-Grillet, but a rapport. The relationship, in fact, was (still is) with Catherine, his wife. The couple reeked of sulphur, but they were a truly beautiful couple.” It should be added that in any case, her reader’s heart was already taken. By Jean Genet. Can’t she quote from memory the first page of Our Lady of Flowers ?

Emmanuelle is a model child of the Republic and the kingdom of letters. From her childhood in Épinay-sur-Orge (Essonne), she remembers her illiterate grandmother who would not have missed “Apostrophes” for anything in the world… Her parents were great readers and here she is following a hypokhâgne at Victor-Duruy, then a khâgne at Louis-le-Grand. “Then I took the competitive examination to be able to finance my thesis…” The writing is lurking, of course. At least since the day when one of his teachers, returning a copy to him, accompanied it with a mysterious sentence: “It’s so well written.” You can take the plunge for less than that. But it is death that allows him to take the plunge. “The death of my father, that of Robbe-Grillet, made a hole in reality.” And finally, “That’s what I like best, writing. It’s linked to music, to questions of interpretation and composition. And to the freedom that the novel allows…” Since then, she has devoted herself to it. She writes with others more than about others, these great irregulars who accompany her without a hitch: Genet and Robbe-Grillet therefore, but also Giono and Colette. A great group, of which she would be the little cousin, light and serious.

Emmanuelle Lambert
No respect
Stock
Print run: 5,000 copies.
Price: €20; 234 p.
ISBN: 9782234093829

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