July 29, 2021

Franz Bartelt, a proven sense of the absurd

“You shouldn’t have given you this trouble”, said Franz Bartelt, leaving the station. Going to see him at home, in the Ardennes, when a phone call would have been enough … Certainly not. All the more so as the writer draws from this material and decoration of all his books. For forty years, he has drawn his inspiration from this land of rivers and fir trees, which he describes with tenderness. It is a land of traditions and immigration, Rimbaldian and desolate, excessive and ordinary, appearing today in A cop far too honest, his new novel. Perhaps the only tangible reality of his stories.

“He is of German origin, I am Italian, his wife, Philomène, has fun, and we live in rue de Russie, a stone’s throw from Belgium. ” In Nouzonville, 5,000 souls, a single factory still in operation, the couple occupy a house with a lush garden on the terrace and a vegetable patch below. On the third floor, the blinds are drawn. Can we take a look at his high-perched desk-library ?, we ask Franz Bartelt. ” Not allowed. No one has ever set foot there. It’s my domain. “

“Let’s say I’m smiling”

No big deal. A frank sun extinguished, that day, all desire for confinement, like all melancholy. Nothing in Franz Bartelt’s character or in his books leads to gravity. If he considers black for the natural color of human mores, he also considers that life looks like a farce, that it often makes people laugh. “I don’t get up singing and go to bed singing, he tempers. Let’s say I’m smiling. I don’t want to undermine myself. » It would be a waste of time, adds the young septuagenarian. In this, Franz Bartelt is in conformity with the inimitable tone of his books. The author has, by his own admission, no taste for drama, even if he has had his share of it.

Every day he wakes up at 4 a.m. This is followed by four hours of reading, or an average pagination book per day. Then write until 6 p.m., noon on Sunday. Go to sleep early. During the week, he does not drink a drop of alcohol in order to keep “Clear mind”. His drug? A daily grid by verbicrucist Michel Laclos (1926-2013). “It’s poetry, a certain philosophy of language. “

Read also (2010): “The Death of Edgar” and “I don’t know how to speak”, by Franz Bartelt: Bartelt, as funny as he is cruel

With Bartelt, extravagance rhymes with distance, the intoxication of the imagination with the sobriety of style. Around the age of 20, the novelist enacted a series of writing rules to which he never ceased to subscribe, deliberately or unconsciously: not to take sides with a character; do not include any real date or place in the story; no reference to a historical event; no quotes or dedications. Under his pen, there will never be any question of hospital or illness. Its protagonists are in essence bon vivant. They are doing well, including leglessA cop far too honest.

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