A true travelogue but also a romantic comedy, the Pulitzer 2018 focuses not without humor on the doubts of a homosexual writer as he approaches his fifties.
Less is more. Arthur Minor (Arthur Less in the original American version) has the persistent impression of missing out on his life and his dreams: approaching his fifties, he painfully realizes that he is single again and that his novels will never know the expected success, especially since his last manuscript was refused by his editor. From there, how to find the taste of life? And how can we put up with Freddy Peluche, the man with whom he slept for more than nine years without ever having dared to declare his love, to marry? Only one solution: to leave, and with all due respect to Seneca who abruptly declares ” What is the point of traveling if you take yourself with you? It is of soul that we must change, not of climate “.
The novel that Mineur has finished writing is furiously similar to the novel the reader is reading but, as one character puts it, ” it’s a little hard to empathize with a guy like that », A middle-aged white man who wanders his sorrows as a middle-aged white American, even a gay man. The magic of the Pulitzer, however, operates thanks to a humor and a somewhat disillusioned vision of the crisis of the fiftieth. It seems that the life of Arthur Minor gains a lot of lightness when it is narrated by Andrew Sean Greer: fall narrowly avoided from a balcony in Berlin, great love, also avoided, on a balcony in Paris, sandstorm in the Sahara, needle in the foot in India, etc. This succession of episodes gives consistency to a character who becomes endearing and who we understand to have accepted a series of invitations to go to the other side of the world, far from the only man he has ever loved. Arthur Mineur does not want to find a new lover anyway because ” when we were once really in love, we cannot live by telling ourselves that it will “do the trick” “.
The Tribulations of Arthur Minor, in addition to addressing homosexual love affairs, somewhat failed trips, the crisis of the fiftieth, is also a novel about literature, about what it feels like to constantly compare yourself to a genius and to live with it, a novel about the feeling of never being able to write the great work of your dreams, of rubbing shoulders with a major literary movement without even being part of it. In short, a romantic comedy between Bridget Jones and tortured homosexual writer.
” What was it like living with a genius?
It was as if we were living alone.
It was like living alone with a tiger.
Everything had to be sacrificed at work. Projects had to be canceled, meals delayed; you had to buy alcohol right away, or else you had to empty everything in the sink. You had to save money, or spend it lavishly, and that changed every day. The hours of sleep, it was the poet who decided, and that often gave sleepless nights as dawn rises. The habits were like the demonic domestic animal of the house: there was only that, the habits, the habits, again the habits; morning coffee, books, poetry, silence until noon. “
The Tribulations of Arthur Minor, Andrew Sean Greer, Editions Jacqueline Chambon, 288 pages, 22 euros
Visual: Book cover
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“Les Tribulations d’Arthur Minor” by Andrew Sean Greer: Pulitzer Prize 2018 – Toutelaculture