Voici une petite pige sur Lovers Or Something Like It publiée sur http://www.varsity.co.uk
What Florian Zellar writes of ‘new lovers’ could ironically be applied to the genre of his own medium,
"Yes, that is the comical illusion of new lovers: like children, they speak of eternity; like bad poets, they believe in the power of what they are saying; and like us, they drown in the saddest form of cowardice, banality."
Much of the romantic fiction of today is bad poetry floundering in banality, (and this is coming from an adamant chick-flick fan, and somebody who wilfully believes every sickeningly sentimental word of Love Actually) but Florian Zeller’s Lovers or something like it, is far from it. Zeller is a barely post-pubescent French 25 year old who lectures at the University of Political Science in Paris. Yet his startling prose is a far cry from what the title and the Mcfly-like, carefully messed up blonde hair of the photo in the inside cover would suggest. Zeller’s novels leave you breathless from the start, with prose, cynical, yes, but perceptive and staggering right from the first page,
"Today, I feel as if I have nothing but my past left to live."
Sounds pretentious? Maybe, but the cut glass directness and fragmentary style gets you straight to the point. His writing is simultaneously lyrical and flounce-free in its directness. This creates a prose as beautiful as a quiet sadness. Zeller writes as if compelled to offer naked truths and, as such, the subject matter leaves you feeling wiser without surrendering ones idealistic hope that somewhere, in the future, there may be a way to love which isn’t as desperate and isolated as those suggested in the novel.
The lovers are diametrically opposed, Amelie can only think of herself as loved when she imagines herself missed and Tristan himself longs for the admiration of many. They fail to love another, rather they love a reflection of themselves in another’s eyes – and mistake this narcissistic fantasy of self, as love for the person they paint it on. Tristan admiring his own profile in the adoration of many females, seeing himself victor, Amelie indulging her morose desire, “The obsession with her own death testified to that, the fear of not being missed by anyone. She always believed that her life would take on its real meaning once she was dead.”
Yet Zeller has more to say about modernity, even closer in line with our own Cambridge-centred existence.
"Tristan is imprisoned in a sphere, since all the desirable objects that surround him are at an equal distance from his own self. He cannot decide which he wants most."
In a community of the ‘all-rounder’ the ‘extra-curricular deity’ the ‘drinking society elite’, Zeller’s perceptive idea, “The sphere is the figure of modern immaturity.” seems frighteningly acute. How many students embark on an endless round of formal hall swaps, always keeping open the possibility of potential, and as a result achieving nothing meaningful at all? How many people embark on everything they can, resulting in not enjoying anything at all – of even forgetting what they enjoyed in the first place? Zeller elaborates,
"And modernity, it seems to me, is haunted by the fantasy of keeping oneself in this state of pure possibility. I would like to be able to become everything. Not to lose any door on the infinite number of possibilities. We come to desire everything, everything and its opposite. But desiring everything and its opposite comes close to not desiring anything at all, and quitting existence."
The modern Hollywood idea of love is not only narcissistic but passive. People expect love to happen to them, to ‘fall in love’ and seek an unattainable perfection in both partner and the state of being that they associate with a heady feeling of love. Perhaps, rather, the attention should be on active loving (no boys, this is not sex) Rather than being loved, than falling in love, perhaps, this valentines day, one should try to actively love. Love your lover, love your friends, love your family, love literature, love this book. ‘Lovers or something like it’ – read it. It might change your life.