La mémoire égarée by Samantha Harvey

By Samantha Harvey

« Une série de coups de feu interrompt l. a. dialogue. Il y a los angeles guerre, ou il y a ecu los angeles guerre, ou… quoi ?… il ne sait pas, là maintenant. Fouiller au fond de sa mémoire est comme plonger sa major dans une boîte, les yeux bandés, sachant qu’elle contient des objets mais sans savoir vraiment lesquels. los angeles guerre a son rôle à jouer, mais peut-être n’est-ce que son grondement régulier qui ne l’a jamais quitté. Peut-être n’est-ce que le battement de son coeur mélancolique. »

Jake approche los angeles soixantaine quand il apprend qu’il est atteint d’Alzheimer. Quelque temps après l’annonce de cette negative nouvelle, il survole une felony dont il a bâti les plans, et on comprend que son fils y est incarcéré. Très vite, l’existence de cet homme apparaît dans toutes ses zones d’ombre : son amour pour Helen, qu’il épousa, peut-être un peu rapidement, sa relation avec le personnage imposant de sa mère, Sara, qui a survécu à l’Holocauste. Les autres femmes de sa vie, son désir de paternité. Son rapport à l. a. religion. 
Très vite, le lecteur s’interroge sur l. a. confiance qu’il peut accorder au récit de Jake, remarquant certaines incohérences, certains mensonges. Mais aussi l’influence sur sa mémoire de tous les récits qui lui ont été livrés…

L’ambition même de ce premiere roman impressionne : explorer les méandres d’une mémoire qui se défait, des prémisses de los angeles maladie au grand ultimate. Tout en accomplissant cette prouesse, Samantha Harvey plonge le lecteur au cœur de los angeles vie même, de ses intrigues et discover l. a. manière dont l. a. nature fragmentaire du memento affecte nos existences.

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With apparent disdain for romanticism, in ‘Hamlet and His Problems’ Eliot conceives of a technique that serves as the foundation for his poetics of impersonality – the objective correlative. As he explains, ‘the only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an objective correlative; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked’ (789).

When studying the poem or fiction, the archetypal critic, like the formalist, assumes that the art object represents a special space, one that is more or less selfcontained, and in some fashion outside the strictures of history or personage. But Frye differs from some formalists in his understanding of literature as permanent and universal, applicable to and connected with human life throughout time. ‘The true father or shaping spirit of the poem is the form of the poem itself,’ Frye explains in Anatomy of Criticism (1957), ‘and this form is a manifestation of the universal spirit of poetry, the “onlie begetter” of Shakespeare’s sonnets who was not Shakespeare himself’ (98).

Eliot’s tradition is exclusive and hierarchical and does not account for the many other cultural forces that might make a popular novel or rock lyric or situation comedy as important in the creation of a given text as Dante’s Inferno. Aren’t all of the forces the artist experiences important in the culminating art object? Eliot responds with a resounding ‘no’ and asserts that if we approach a poet with his idea of tradition in mind, ‘we shall often find that not only the best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously’ (784).

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