❤️Chienne et Louve
Posted by Jennifer Fulton on
An enthralling novel by Joffrine Donnadieu. It is told in first person by 20 year old Romy, a young woman with a troubled past who comes to Paris to study acting. With no money so to pay for basic living needs, let alone lessons at a prestigious academy she is determined to enroll in, she works as a stripper, and squats wherever she can find shelter.
She eventually finds a job and accommodation as a caregiver to 89 year old Odette. In order to keep a roof over her head Romy moves heaven and earth keep Odette content -- and as her health declines with old age, simply alive long enough to pay for her final classes at the academy. But Romy is no martyr, and their relationship is deeply complex and intimate, and her behavior toward Odette alternates between tenderness and borderline abuse, playful, sisterly friendship and enmity, chienne et louve.
The most powerful aspect of the book is Romy's arduous, physical work as an actress, which we feel viscerally as she simultaneously loses and finds herself in the various roles she seeks to inhabit on stage and in life: stripper, Blanche [for A Streetcar name desire], caregiver to Odette, mistress to Jean, and when in desperate financial straits, sometimes a prostitute to strange men, and Sabina Spielrein [for a play about the patient and lover of Carl Jung] . A novel full of passion written in a frenetic style that leaves you breathless at times. C'est formidable!