Sarah Alyn Stacey
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‘On ne s’entendait plus et c’était parfait ainsi’ (They could no longer hear each other and it was just fine that way)

In the first three of the four novels Agnès Desarthe has published at the time of writing, the binary opposition understanding-misunderstanding stands out as a central issue, particularly with regard to identity. The four novels are Quelques minutes de bonheur absolu, Un secret sans importance, Cinq photos de ma femme and Les Bonnes Intentions. In these novels, the tension between subjectivity and objectivity is central to the construction of identity. The recontextualisation of this problem in each text has a twofold effect. First, it creates a schematic effect which serves to emphasise that it is a commonplace, not confined to one universe. Second, it unites the three texts in a tryptych, each panel of which foregrounds the understanding-misunderstanding issue.

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Women’s writing in contemporary France

New writers, new literatures in the 1990s

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