Read Die Lebenden reparieren by Maylis de Kerangal Online


Nach einem Autounfall diagnostizieren die Ärzte den klinischen Tod eines jungen Manns. Zugleich stellen fest, dass er sich zum Organspender eignet. Die Konsequenzen einer Entscheidung zur Transplantation verfolgt der Phantasie und Gefühle aufregende Roman von Maylis de Kerangal über einen Zeitraum von 24 Stunden. Wie verhalten sich Ärzte und die Familien in solchen SituatiNach einem Autounfall diagnostizieren die Ärzte den klinischen Tod eines jungen Manns. Zugleich stellen fest, dass er sich zum Organspender eignet. Die Konsequenzen einer Entscheidung zur Transplantation verfolgt der Phantasie und Gefühle aufregende Roman von Maylis de Kerangal über einen Zeitraum von 24 Stunden. Wie verhalten sich Ärzte und die Familien in solchen Situationen auf Leben und Tod? Wie verkraften Menschen überhaupt solche unerwartbaren, unausweichlichen Chancen und das gleichzeitige Ende aller Chancen? Maylis de Kerangal präsentiert die Abfolge dieser 24 Stunden in einer rasanten Folge von emotional aufrührenden Szenen und deskriptivem Reportagestil. Und so stellt sich beim Leser Betroffenheit ein. Die sieben renommierten Auszeichnungen, die dieser Roman in Frankreich erhalten hat, sind ein Beleg für solche Wirkung....

Title : Die Lebenden reparieren
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9783518424780
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 370 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Die Lebenden reparieren Reviews

  • Ilse
    2019-05-23 05:19

    Reports from the heartMend the Living is a gripping novel of stunning beauty, an audacious and highly original composition on the fragility of life. One man's death is another man's breath. As to the donation and transplantation of vital organs, this proverb, when interpreted literally, is a lapalissade. In Dutch, there exists an expression with a similar significance, connecting death with bread instead of breath: one man’s death is another one’s bread. Perhaps it is less harshly formulated, but in the context of de Kerangal’s novel this truism also illustrates that, inevitably, some people factually are earning their living with the death of others, and sometimes operate in the twilight between life and death. From the moment Simon, a 20 year old, in limbo between life and death after a car accident, is transported to the intensive care ward of the hospital, the reader discerns a procession of characters, involved in a transplantation process, like the cogs in the machinery: doctors, nurses, surgeons, coordinator, data base administrator, logistic staff. Why would they go through the motions? ‘We have to think of the living, we have to think of the ones left behind’, one of the characters reminds himself, referring to a line of dialogue that he photocopied from Chekhov’s play Platonov, sticking on his office’s door: ‘what shall we do Nicolas? Bury the dead and mend the living’ (hence the novel’s title).Because action has to be taken swiftly in this matters - the organs deteriorate quickly once a person is brain dead - de Kerangal aptly draws the reader into the sense of urgency the whole transplantation process exhales, cogently depicting the haunting decision process, resulting in a breath-taking pace, accelerated by a sensible use of punctuation:Conscious that punctuation is the anatomy of language, the structure of meaning, and he visualizes the opening sentence, its musical line, and gauges the first syllable he will utter.De Kerangal metamorphoses the medical jargon, undertakings and processes into marvelous, lyrical, phrases, creating a sublime musical ambience out of technical details with her long, meandering, pulsating sentences - an agile prose poem bewildering the senses. Incredibly well researched and meticulously documented on the technical side, this novel is a tour de force, but it is the interaction of the medical professionals with the people concerned and the evocation of the impact of Simon’s death on so many different lives that renders this novel so touching and powerful, without turning mawkish. There is the waiting beneficiary, well aware receiving the organ and surviving means that someone else will have to die first. There are Simon’s parents, Marianne and Sean, incredulous, forced to take decisions quickly, uncertain if their son is ‘really’, incontrovertibly dead, while his beautiful body, aided by the machinery, is still so warm, alive, and intact: How could they even envision it, Simon’s death, when his complexion still flushes pink, and supple, when his nape still bathes in cool blue watercress and he is stretched out with his feet in the gladiolus.De Kerangal’s sensory, empathic prose and cinematic style draws the reader into the most intimate moments of saying goodbye to the beloved son: Sean places his forehead against that of a the young man stretched out, his skin is still warm and there it is, his smell, smell of wool and cotton, smell of the sea, and Sean probably begins to whisper words just for the two of them, words that no one else can hear and that we will never know, archaic babble from the Polynesian isles, or mana words that have crossed unaltered through all the layers of language, embers that glow red with a fire intact, this dense, slow matter, inexhaustible, this wisdom.The succinct chapter on Simon’s girlfriend Juliette, still unaware of what happened to Simon, daydreaming on their love, constitutes one the most poignant fragments in the novel:The day stretches out in Juliette’s room and little by little the white labyrinth opens a passage to that September day, that first day, the matter of the air slowly taking form once they were finally walking side by side, as though invisible particles were coming together around them under the effect of sudden acceleration, their bodies sending a signal to each other once they’d passed the high school gates, in the aphonic, archaic language that was already the language of desire.Through de Kerangal’s labyrinthine but perfectly well-balanced phrases, the reader follows the trajectory from the heart pulsing in young Simon’s body to its implantation into the recipient’s. Although the fate of other vital organs is dealt with too, it is the heart, this lyrical muscle, this murderers’ den and residence/abode of lofty feelings and the soul, that fulfills the pivotal role in this transplantation tale, enabling de Kerangal to pluck the strings of the organ’s symbolic, allegorical, linguistic and affecting connotations, pondering simultaneously, and recurrently, on the impact and importance of language:The young surgeon is amazed at the way (the heart) it is imprinted in language, at its recurrent presence precisely at this magic point of language, always situated at the exact intersection of the literal and the figurative, the muscle and the affect; he takes great delight in metaphors and figures of speech in which is the analogy of life itself, an d he repeats ad infinitum that although it was the first to appear, the heart will also be the last to disappear.Once Simon’s parents get off the screen, the emotive tension in the novel slightly weakens, but the ongoing sequences still offer a compelling insider’s view into an unfamiliar world, in what is to the most of us an exceptional situation, mostly getting only vague inklings of thought, while it is business as usual for some medical professionals, demi-godlike demiurgs which minds can easily switch from surgery to trivialities like a football match or the splendid sex they had the night before.I read the novel in a Dutch translation, and would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher Mac Lehose Press for providing me with a copy of the English translation (by Jessica Moore), which allowed me to insert some quotes in English.---------------------------------Update November 8th, 2016Today I found out that a film has been made out of Mend the Living. In a long interview yesterday with its director (Katell Quillévéré) and a review strongly praising the film itself today (‘fragile and heart-warming’), my self-declared ‘quality newspaper’ doesn’t even bother to mention Maylis de Kerangal’s name. About the book the film reviewer has nothing more to say than that 'the narrative comes from a popular French novel’, while his very own newspaper published a rave review on the book less than 2 years ago and the novel was longlisted for the Man Booker International 2016.

  • Orsodimondo
    2019-04-28 11:26

    TERRA INCOGNITA Mayliss de Kerangal viene definita da alcuni critici la migliore scrittrice francese degli ultimi anni: non sono in grado di confermarlo, ma arrivato alla seconda lettura posso senz’altro considerarmi un suo fan.Dal film omonimo diretto da Katell Quillévéré nel 2016. Simon fa il surf di primo mattino.Riparare i viventi è come un piano sequenza che esplora emozioni, descritto con precisione e minuzia chirurgica.E, la chirurgia è importante in questo romanzo, ne è materia, motore e combustibile.La scrittura incalza, affascinante e sinuosa, come la macchina da presa di Birdman, scrittura sia realistica, non fosse altro che per la precisione dei dettagli tecnici e della terminologia medica, scrittura sia poetica, avanti e indietro nel tempo, dal passato, prossimo e remoto, al presente, anche a quello che sta per farsi presente futuro, con parole scelte per stimolare tutti i sensi.La stessa lingua adottata per incarnare il gesto scientifico è innestata di parole scientifiche, di termini e procedure mediche, trapianto in letteratura di materia apparentemente incompatibile.La precisione dei dettagli tecnici è per me quasi una questione di etica letteraria. E deve essere innanzitutto linguistica, motivo per cui cerco d'impossessarmi di quei linguaggi tecnici e specialistici, i quali, benché apparentemente strani e misteriosi, devono essere reintrodotti nel linguaggio romanzesco.Simon in sala operatoria.È la storia di un trapianto: un giovane di nome Simon muore in un incidente d’auto e i suoi organi possono essere trapiantati – i polmoni vanno in una direzione, il fegato verso un altro ospedale, i reni a un altro ancora.De Kerangal segue il cuore: per quanto sia l’arresto delle funzioni cerebrali a determinare il passaggio dalla vita alla morte, il cuore, la pompa idraulica del nostro corpo, nella cultura occidentale è la sede dei sentimenti e dell'amore - il muscolo della vita è qui immaginato come una simbolica scatola nera dell'individuo, in cui sono conservate sia la sua vita affettiva che le sue emozioni. E allora via, dietro al cuore, una ‘migrazione cardiaca’ che evoca i personaggi uno alla volta, facendoli ‘nascere’ davanti agli occhi del lettore (il giovane, genitori e sorella, la fidanzata, l'infermiera, i medici incaricati degli espianti, la persona che riceverà il dono…), ognuno in modo diverso ma tutti legati a quel corpo.Il risultato è un romanzo denso di emozioni e riflessioni, un libro sulla morte che si trasforma in un canto di vita e di speranza: il dono degli organi è un gesto di pregnante altruismo che non aspetta nulla in cambio, tanto più significativo in una società fortemente caratterizzata dall’individuo più che dalla collettività.Mamma, papà e Simon.Tutto si svolge nell’arco di 24 ore: le lancette segnano la stessa ora all’inizio e alla fine del romanzo, le 5:50 del mattino quando Simon sente la sveglia e lascia la fidanzata per unirsi agli amici surfisti, cavalca l’onda alta un metro e mezzo e si trasforma in un’onda che non arriva più a riva. E sono le 5:49 quando il cuore di Simon inizia a battere nel corpo di Claire. Un giorno che sembra un attimo eterno: de Kerangal seziona i secondi in frammenti di eternità.

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-05-24 10:19

    A horrible tragedy, a young man lies in a hospital declared brain dead. This is a book that takes place in twenty four hours, from his declaration of death, his parents being told and the process started for the transplanting of his organs. Stories are told about everyone involved in this devastating process, from the parent's grief, the doctor who declares him dead, the transplant co-ordination, and everyone else involved in this process which means sorrow for some and new life for others.Translated novel, French in origin this is a best seller in that country. The writing is at times straightforward, at others stream of consciousness. The tone is matter of fact which keeps the reader at a distance. Still it is a very interesting look at the organ donation process and one interesting fact, in France approval for donation is implied if the person did not declare themselves against it before death. In the United States, permission must be granted before hand.Very different read, very informative.

  • Jen Campbell
    2019-05-17 07:03

    'Maybe there is a scrapyard for organs somewhere, she thinks, removing her jewellery and her watch, some sort of garbage heap where hers will be dumped along with others, evacuated from the hospital through a back door in large trash bags; she imagines a container for organic matter where it will be recycled, transformed into a paste, a flesh compost served by unimaginably cruel heirs of Atreus to their rivals, who enter the palace dining room with hearty appetites - served as pancakes or steak tartare, or slop fed to dogs in huge dishes, or bait for bears and dolphins - and maybe those dolphins will be transformed, after eating the substance, their rubbery skin covered with blonde hair like hers, maybe they will grow long velvety eyelashes.'If you're a fan of Ali Smith, if you're a fan of Virginia Woolf, you will love this book.

  • Jola
    2019-04-25 05:09

    Is it possible to fall in love with a book? Probably yes, as it has just happened to me. The symptoms are typical: I keep thinking about it almost all the time. I can't sleep. I can't eat. I can't concentrate. Fortunately, I'm having summer holidays at the moment, otherwise it would be really hard.I want to share my thoughts and impressions with you badly. I really do. The problem is I am at a complete loss for words. I think it would be better if, instead of writing a review, I could show you a sort of electrocardiogram documenting what was happening to me when I was reading Maylis de Kerangal's novel. Then you would know exactly when I wept. When my heart was missing a beat. When I was profoundly moved. When I howled noiselessly. When I felt totally mesmerized by Maylis de Kerangal's words. Speaking of words, Marcel Proust was trying to find the lost time, while Maylis de Kerangal sets sail on other mission: she searches for the language which can express the most tragic feelings you can imagine. In my opinion the mission has been accomplished in an enthralling way. Without any monumental words, any marble pathos, any cheap sentimentalism. The beauty of the writing blends with enormous empathy and tact here. I can't promise you will be as much enchanted as I have been. You might find de Kerangal's style annoying. I know that some readers do. But if you love it as much as I do, be prepared for the inner conflict: you will want this book to last forever and at the same time you won't be able to put it down. At least that's what has been happening to me for the last few days.While I was reading 'The Heart', I was listening to Loreena McKennitt almost all the time. I didn't pay much attention to the lyrics as I was focused on the novel. Completely sucked by the novel, to be exact. Suddenly I realized that the song I was listening to, probably for the twentieth time, was closely related to Maylis de Kerangal's book. I mean 'Dante's Prayer':'Though we share this humble path, aloneHow fragile is the heartOh give these clay feet wings to flyTo touch the face of the starsBreathe life into this feeble heartLift this mortal veil of fearTake these crumbled hopes, etched with tearsWe'll rise above these earthly caresCast your eyes on the oceanCast your soul to the seaWhen the dark night seems endlessPlease remember mePlease remember me'It was like a revelation. The lyrics made me think of Simon and Maylis de Kerangal's novel. It's a coincidence of course but shows you how infatuated I am.When (if?) my ability to think logically comes back, I will discuss a few more things I would love to tell you about 'The Heart'.To be continued...

  • Carol
    2019-05-17 09:28

    3.5 Stars.Oh My....what to say. One minute I'm glued to the pages and the next I'm wondering why in the world the author is introducing yet another with a story that went on and on and wasn't (for me) significant to the plot....for what purpose?Anyway, overall I thought 75% of THE HEART to be extraordinary, informative and one dam fine read....the other 25% a bit tedious.IT ALL HAPPENS IN 24 HOURS beginning with some early morning surfing fun for three teens that turns deadly bringing shock, unbearable grief and sadness to family and friends of Simon Limbre.From there, THE HEART takes the reader on a journey of hard decision making....organ donation, and right into the realm of the operating theatre....interesting stuff here! And Whew! how does one ever repay such an infinite gift of life.....After I turned the last page, my first thought was that I wanted more....more final thoughts from family and friends, more thoughts from the donee, and more of this author's writing, but then I remembered the title THE HEART and thought the ending perfect. 3.5 Stars with a roundup to 4.0.

  • Snotchocheez
    2019-05-01 03:19

    3 starsMy feelings were all over the place for The Heart (or I guess as it's titled on the francophone side of the pond, Réparer les vivants; something about "Heal the Living" doesn't quite resonate in English). Parts of Maylis de Kerangal's short, hyper-stylistic, fictional take on the world of organ transplantation were just amazing; other parts kerflop like an Emergency Organ Transport van's blown-out Michelin. When she sticks to the core subject (the aftermath of teen surfer Simon Limbres' all-but-fatal van collision, the resulting Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief experienced by his loved ones, the hard choices to be made regarding Simon's comatose, vegetative body, the technical exigencies of organ transfer) the book absolutely soars (so much so that when I heard that there was a big screen adaptation soon to be released, I thought "duh! no brainer! Palme d'Or!") Yet other parts, particularly the back stories of all the people tangentially connected to Simon's plight (especially--though not limited to--Thomas Rémige, a nurse/organ donation coordinator, whose back stories include singing opera and having a near-fetish-like fascination with North African goldfinches) go nowhere. Most of these back stories lend nothing to the story whatsoever, and only serve to muck up the works (with style, sure, thank you.)Ms. de Kerangal has a fascinating writing style, equal parts frenetic and locked in stasis. Very unsettling, but effective. I would ordinarily say the lack of quotation marks would be a terrible distraction, except that there's almost no dialog: you really don't miss them. Kudos to the translator, Sam Taylor, who I'm sure really had his hands full trying to decipher this chaotic prose and make it sparkle and flow in English. I'm very curious how the soon-to-be-released film adaptation is going to be received. With just a little tweaking here and there, it just might work cinematically. I wouldn't mind reading anything else from her that's been translated (doesn't seem so at present, though. Most promising-sounding:Dans les rapides, a 2007 fictional tribute to Blondie and Kate Bush. Yum!)

  • Amanda
    2019-05-18 10:06

    3.5 rounded up because the writing is just fantastic. Despite quite a bit of buzz earlier this year and some positive reviews from trusted GR friends, I was skeptical of this book and almost took a pass. It seemed like a simple Lifetime movie story. Tragic accident, brain death, heart transplant. I was expecting weepy maudlin prose. It is not that at all. It is a simple story but the prose is outstanding and the way the author makes you feel like you ARE the characters shows a real talent. I will definitely look for other works in translation by this author.

  • debra
    2019-05-22 11:29

    I really enjoyed the basic story concerning all that is involved with organ donation: the loss of loved deceased,telling family and getting permission, harvesting, transport,all the emotional upheaval of all these people and the myriad other issues involved in the process.There was also a varied cast of believable and often compelling characters. Many reviewers thought the author wrote beautifully. IMO, author took purple prose to the level of aubergine. Majority of book was walls of text. One sentence continues for(I'm not exaggerating) two pages!!!The sentence may have used beautiful language, as attested to by others, I just felt "Oh no, not another ,muddled,sometimes lucid stream of verbiage." I am the shallow reader that only has to know -character sat in green chair-not where the chair was made, who made it,what color it originally was, what muscles character used to sit- what muscles he or she would use to rise, who sat in the chair in the past and who would sit there next........Especially since this chair has nothing to do with story-nothing!I am def in minority-but the beauty of this kind of storytelling is not one I appreciate!!

  • Lark Benobi
    2019-05-01 07:01

    This novel is a great example of how simplicity can be transformed via some kind of alchemy known as "great writing" into high art. I'm reminded of Picasso's "Bouquet of Peace." The story of The Heart is so basic that I almost gave the novel a pass after reading the book jacket--the plot is the stuff of straight-to-video movies--and yet in Kerangal's hands it transforms itself into a story that is exquisitely particular and full of humanity. I'm in awe of her storytelling skills and I'm grateful to her translator Sam Taylor for making this novel easily accessible for me.In addition to good writing and its deep sense of humaneness, yet another feature that makes The Heart work is its meticulous attention to medical detail. Another work of great skill that I thought of while reading The Heart was "Mrs. Kelly's Monster," a nonfiction feature article written by Jon Franklin that won a Pulitzer in 1979, and that Franklin has graciously republished on his blog, here:

  • Roger Brunyate
    2019-05-19 10:02

    To Repair the LivingBury the dead and repair the living.This line from Chekhov's Platonov both explains the French title of this prizewinning novel, Réparer les vivants, and sketches its narrative arc in a single stroke, simple and daring at the same time. For it is the story of a heart transplant, from the last hours and death of the donor to the restoration of the recipient. All taking place within a single day and night. But a very eventful day, involving many people whom we get to know and care about, and the precise working of skilled surgeons within a finely-tuned administrative apparatus. It is one of the best books I have read all year.Kerangal is what you might call a "process writer." Immediately before this, I read and reviewed her earlier novel, Naissance d'un pont. In it, she describes the building of a great bridge, also from start to finish, an enterprise requiring several years and thousands of engineers, workmen, and hangers-on. I described her then as the "Poet of Everything." No detail was too small for her, from the mud of the river bed to the vomit outside a Friday-night bar; no character was too insignificant. All material for her brilliant pyrotechnics, jamming epithet to epithet in jazzy verbal profusion. There is something of the same quality here, its linguistic surprise faithfully captured in the translation by Sam Taylor, but this is much more restrained, more finely focused on the task at hand. Instead of a span of years, we have an exact 24 hours, beginning at dawn on one day and ending at dawn the next. The story could have gone on for longer, but I am sure this precision was important to the author, putting her novel within the classical French unity of time. If Naissance was drunk with possibilities, The Heart is a sober work, dealing as it does with questions of death and life, and their impact on individual human beings.But Kerangal cannot introduce a simple fact without exploring all the way around it; each new character comes with not so much a back-story as a flash vignette. When Pierre Révol, the ICU doctor first sets eyes on the blotchy face of Cordélia Owl, the nurse assigned to assist him, he immediately imagines an active night with some boyfriend. In fact, he is not far wrong, although the actuality turns out to be more bizarre and more powerful. It is important to the author, in this novel about death, to include constant reminders of life, its unruliness, its splendor, its fragility. Simon Limbres, the donor in this case, is a young surfer, killed in his prime—but the reminder is always there that death could come for any of us, and meanwhile the only thing we can do is to live life, live it as fully as possible.For all its detailed emphasis on medical technique, ethical issues, and legal procedure, this is a deeply human book. And the character who shines the most brightly for me is the male nurse in charge of coordinating the organ-donation process, Thomas Rémige. Once more, we get the unexpected glimpses into his private life, a youngish gay man, a lover of music. When we first see him, he is standing naked in his apartment, singing:Watching this scene, it would be possible to draw an analogy with the sun salutation or the morning chants of monks and nuns, the same lyricizing of the dawn. You might imagine such a ritual to be aimed at the maintenance and conservation of the body—like drinking a glass of cool water, brushing your teeth, unrolling a rubber mat in front of the television to do floor exercises—but for Thomas Rémige it is something else altogether: an exploration of self—the voice as a probe infiltrating his body and transmitting to the outside world echoes of everything that animates it. The voice as stethoscope.Our coordinator is a singer, so what? But no, we shall see that Thomas's care and gentleness will be essential to who he is, as he listens sympathetically to the boy's separated parents as they gradually come to an acceptance of the situation and, just possibly, to a reconciliation with one another. And the music will be important too, as a symbol and something more. By this time, I was used to Maylis de Kerangal's tendency to explore every by-road that she passes, but nothing prepared me for the extraordinary flashback chapter just over halfway through the book in which Thomas visits his partner's cousin in Algiers to buy a rare goldfinch. It has nothing directly to do with the story, but at the same time it is essential, not only as a symbol of the preservation of life and the life spirit, but also as an intermezzo, a palate-cleanser, at the exact moment when the focus shifts from the donor to the possible recipient.Thomas Rémige will stay with Simon until the organs have been removed and the surgeons have repaired the necessary incisions. Remaining alone in the operating theater, he will perform his own ritual, stripping, washing, and enshrouding the body, singing to it all the time. Although not yet the end of the book, it confers a benediction whose beauty speaks absolutely to the wonder, humanity, and daring of this astounding novel:When it is all gone, the body appears suddenly more naked than ever: a human body catapulted far from humanity, disturbing matter drifting through the magmatic night, through the formless space of non-meaning, an entity to which Thomas's song confers a presence, a new inscription. Because this body, fragmented and divided by life, becomes whole again under the hand that washes it, in the breath of the voice that sings; this body that has suffered something extraordinary is now united with the company of men, with common mortality. It is praised in song, made beautiful.

  • Ilenia Zodiaco
    2019-05-22 06:17

    Premessa: questo romanzo è finalista al Man Booker International Prize, avevo sentito numerosi pareri di lettura positivi (una recensione sul Guardian, in particolare) e mi sembrava che tutti ci avessero versato sopra copiose lacrime d'amore. Non è che sia un cattivo libro. Lo consiglio, anzi. Soprattutto ai più giovani. Ci fanno leggere tante cose brutte, questa non lo è. Ma non è decisamente all'altezza delle mie aspettative. Non dopo aver terminato da pochissimo la lettura di alieni come Capote, poi. Inoltre, questa non è la recensione completa che invece trovate qui (“Il cuore è la scatola nera di un corpo”Cosa archivia un cuore umano? Cosa rimane della vita precedente quando un organo migra da un corpo ad un altro? “Riparare i viventi” vuole raccontare cosa succede al corpo di Simon, ragazzo di diciannove anni con la passione per il surf, quando cade in un coma irreversibile, a seguito di un incidente d’auto. Quello che si vuole suggerire è che niente è irreversibile, tutto migra e si trasforma. Il cuore di Simon potrebbe essere donato per “riparare” un altro essere umano, per dare nuova vita. Il tema della donazione degli organi è affrontato a partire da chi deve scendere a patti con una vita al limite: il cuore ancora batte, la coscienza però non c’è più. Il romanzo avrebbe dovuto concentrarsi sull’abbandono della convinzione per cui il corpo non è solo il nostro involucro ma è la nostra identità e vederlo alterato quando moriamo (anche se per un’azione nobile), ci sconvolge. Mi sembra che invece questo resti più che altro un bisbiglio mentre ci si sofferma di più su meccanismi ormai corrosi dalle narrazioni mainstream, che vogliono raccontarci con frasi retoriche cosa sia il dolore della perdita, quando, sono in pochi a riuscire ad avvicinarcisi allo stordimento e al disorientamento che provoca la morte. E questi pochi autori, che sanno parlarci della Morte, non vogliono nemmeno farci capire cosa sia, non cercano definizioni e frasi fatte. Estrema importanza ha anche la dimensione del tempo. L’elaborazione del lutto è un processo lento, specialmente se avviene nell’ambiente ospedaliero che risponde a ritmi diversi e spesso opposti a quelli della vita del fuori. L’autrice opera una lunga dilatazione temporale, una sorta di piano sequenza che espande la percezione di ogni momento narrativo. Purtroppo questo senso di dilatazione, che ci rende partecipi di ogni dettaglio, non è sempre spontaneo. Si interrompe troppo spesso il corso degli eventi che sembra essere un suppellettile, a supporto della scrittura compiaciuta della scrittrice.Lo stile è fortemente disequilibrato. Quando la de Kerengal si sofferma sul concreto, è precisa e raffinata. Riesce ad essere lirica parlando di tecnicismi, quando usa il gergo dei surfisti, il lessico dei professionisti, che sia un artista che plasma la materia o un medico che riflette sulla definizione di morte cerebrale. Quando invece punta alla descrizione del dolore, risulta forzatamente poetica e i suoi tentativi si traducono, troppo spesso, in una cascata di frasi paratattiche che vogliono tutte dire la stessa cosa, abbinate al binario sistema di tripla aggettivazione che, ritengo essere - correggetemi se sbaglio - illegale in almeno diciotto stati. "Loro stessi, fallati, spezzati, divisi".Lo so che è da infami citare frasi mozzate, tirate fuori dal contesto. Ma è quel che è. Il problema principale, per me, è la sproporzione retorica. Vi sono momenti inutilmente arzigogolati. Tuttavia, quando invece è necessaria una maggiore drammatizzazione, l’autrice si fa spesso piccina e prosaica e ci vengono restituiti istanti deludenti e depotenziati. Tutti i gesti che i genitori compiono a seguito della morte del figlio, sembrano rituali smorti, sbiaditi, privi di reale autenticità. Non c’è nulla della raffinatezza e della sottigliezza di un Carver (in quel capolavoro che è “una cosa piccola ma buona”), i personaggi sono vittime di automatismi dozzinali (pugni al muro, mani nei capelli, testate sul volante), descritti con artifici retorici banali. Indugiare continuamente nelle pieghe di ogni istante (sì, sto scimmiottando) è spesso inutile e frustrante per il lettore. Non si traduce infatti in un’epifania,in momento rivelatorio, riflessione illuminante (sì, la scrittrice usa questo sistema di triplette), bensì in una divagazione retorica che non riserva quasi mai sorprese (non è Nabokov). Non è spiacevole, né particolarmente irritante ma non è nemmeno bello. Uno stile che non è al servizio della trama, non serve i personaggi, serve solo il lettore che si compiace di essere trasportato con faciloneria (non smaccata, ma pur sempre faciloneria) nel mare di struggimento e dolore in cui tutti ci crogioliamo (a livello letterario) quando muore un ragazzino di diciannove anni. La frase che possiede più forza evocativa sul tema, rispetto a tutto il resto del romanzo, è: "seppellire i morti, riparare i viventi". E non l'ha scritta l'autrice ma è una citazione.

  • Jill
    2019-05-16 09:21

    One heart, one magnificent heart. The heart in question belongs to Simon Limbres, a 19-year-old boy, not a perfect boy, a passionate surfer who has barely has had the chance to inhabit the person he will become.In this astoundingly good novel, Malis De Kerangal introduces us to Simon briefly, when he is thrumming with life, surfing on a cold morning with two good friends. Just pages later, he is close to death, the result of a car accident. The effect is jarring: life contrasted with death, risk contrasted with the mundane.Simon is at the core of those connected by his single beating heart, yet this book is never maudlin or manipulative. In long sentences, written with lyricism and confidence, we meet those who are just a heartbeat away – and they are portrayed in exquisitely precise detail. Marianne, his mother and Sean, his father must grapple with the worst news a parent can ever imagine hearing, with the most potent stew of emotions (anger, disbelief, numbness, all at once). When Marianne calls Sean to inform him, and hears his innocent voice, she thinks of it as “the voice of life before”.There is Thomas Remige of the Coordinating Committee for Organ and Tissue Removal, the man intimately attuned to life, who sings Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and revels in the delicate song of his rare Algerian goldfinch. It will fall to him to walk that precarious line between honoring the family’s wishes and honoring life itself by the reuse of the organs. There is the hedonist heart surgeon Virgilio, who is as passionate fan of soccer (and France is about to play Italy) as he is the operating theater. There is Claire, the 51-year-old heart recipient, who is curiously conflicted upon knowing that now, after years of living with no conception of the future, it will open for her through another’s death. We are privy to their most intimate emotions and foibles and they come alive under this author’s exacting tutelage.Most importantly, this narrative transcends plots and even transcends characters. Maylis De Kerangal is looking at the bigger picture: the ubiquitous symbolism of the heart. There are some strikingly beautiful images, a merging of forever time (the rise and fall of the waves Simon loved) with immediate time, and the gravity of recognizing that the “separation between the living and the dead no longer exists.” Kudos to Sam

  • Rebecca Foster
    2019-05-05 08:30

    (3.5) Nineteen-year-old Simon Limbeau is declared brain dead in a French hospital after a car accident, but his heart lives on: metaphorically through the love of his parents, sister, friends, and girlfriend; but also literally, in the recipient of his organ donation. Again and again de Kerangal makes a distinction between the physical reality of organs and what they represent: “Simon’s eyes are not just his nervous retina, his taffeta iris, his pupil of pure black in front of the crystalline – they are also his gaze; his skin isn’t just the threaded mesh of his epidermis, his porous cavities – it’s his light and his touch, the living sensors of his body.”The novel spends time with Simon’s family, especially his mother, but also with the transplant coordinator, the surgeons, the nurse, and so on. I was reminded of ER as well as the French TV show The Returned – this would work really well on screen, and would be a way of avoiding the more off-putting aspects of the author’s style. She writes long, run-on sentences: sometimes half a page, sometimes even stretching to two pages, and stuffs her prose with abstruse vocabulary (or at least that’s how the translator has rendered it), a lot of it medical but some of it simply inaccessible: “emollient conjugality” plus at least a dozen English words I’d never encountered. (Here’s the worst example of unnecessary opacity: “the digitigrade gait of the sardana dancer when he’s nearing a quintal, the corpulence of an ex-obese man calibrating him in thickness, in fullness, but without visible excrescence” – in plain English, the guy is stocky.)

  • Margaret
    2019-05-21 10:17

    I was transfixed by this book. At first, I didn't want to read it. A three hundred word opening sentence? Really? But I was immediately seduced, and continued to be seduced by the atmosphere - the atmospheres - that de Karangal creates as she introduces us to Simon, the boy who loves to surf, but who dies in a road accident as he and his friends return from an early morning assignment with the waves. He's brain-dead. His perfect body is there for his mother, his father to see, lying on his hospital bed. Thanks to technology, he breathes, as if in dreamless sleep. But he's dead. And his parents need to decide whether his organs can be 'harvested' so others might live. 'How could they even envision it, Simon’s death, when his complexion still flushes pink, and supple, when his nape still bathes in cool blue watercress and he is stretched out with his feet in the gladiolus.'Now, they must decide now, watching their son calmly 'sleeping'. This is their story. It's the story of the hospital staff, medical and otherwise, charged with his care, coming into work from their messy day-to-day lives. They leave behind them evenings of unsatisfactory sex, of football matches missed, and it's business as usual for them. It's the story of Simon's girlfriend, cross that he's preferred to go surfing than snatch a few more hours with her. It's the story of the woman destined to receive his heart.The life and death of Simon's heart impacts on so many others, and de Karangal explores this in affecting, poetic language. The emotional consequences overlie the whole book, but she's also researched, quite meticulously, the whole process of transplant from the moment that a patient is recognised as a possible donor, to the time when the heart is successfully transferred to the body of someone else. So many, many people are involved. And it all has to happen so quickly.This is no medical manual. It's poetic, beautiful, lyrical, rhythmical - and audacious: a quality which seemed to identify the book for me as 'very French'. And I want to single out the quality of the translation. I haven't read the original, but I have read the translator's notes. Moore seems to have successfully been 'sensing in two languages, with the English sentences lain like a transparency over the original'. She has rendered into wonderfully expressive English a work with many of the qualities of French cinema: a narrative alongside an intimate exploration of what it is to be human.

  • Mary Soderstrom
    2019-05-19 06:01

    This is a book that is impossible to find in Montreal libraries--it's a run away success here, and every copy is checked out. Because a book group of friends I belong to wanted to read it though, I bought a e-version and enjoyed reading it on the Kobo that until then I'd had great problems with. (Note: it's not available yet in English: will be published as The Heart in 2016.)The novel takes place within 24 hours one winter day in Northern France. Three guys go surfing, getting up before the sun, to get the best waves. On the way home, there's an accident, and one of them receives mortal injuries. The drama circles around the people whose lives are touched by this incident--the young man's parents, the emergency room doctor, the staff who arrange for transplants and the woman who will receive his heart.Kerangal tells a great story, with much information about what happens in such a situation. Details are different from the way organ transplants are handled in North America, the biggest difference being the legal assumption in France that everyone agrees to donate organs unless a specific refusal is filed. This is the reverse of the legal framework in many other places, where the donor must have given specific approval beforehand. Nevertheless, the mourning of the parents is vividly, poetically described as are the paths the led the health care workers involved in the complicated transplant procedure to this day.I've tried to check on the facts, but have not come up with much more than a reference to Kerangal being present at a heart transplant operation. Nevertheless the narrative feels true in a way reminiscent of the best creative non-fiction. The story is often told in long, stream-of-consciousness sentences, which at first may be daunting, but in the end force the reader into the heads of the people involved. A book I heartily recommend, in short. This reaction is quite different from my reaction to Kerangal's earlier La naisssance d'un pont (The Birth of a Bridge in English translation,) which is confusing, pseudo-magic realism. Why that book won the Prix Goncourt, one of France's most illustrious literary prizes, is beyond me.

  • Liesl
    2019-05-05 09:14

    This novel is astonishing, a tour de force. De Kerangal visually, viscerally brings to life...and to death...a teenage boy, Simon Limbres, who is sent into an irreversible coma by a car accident, after an early morning surfing expedition. The boy's brain has shut down, but his heart continues to pump; his skin is warm; his hair still is salty from his dawn surf. Soon, nurses and doctors will monitor him, specialists will remove his organs; transplant surgeons will transfer his strong, still living heart to a woman whose life it will save. First, though, they must clear this with the boy's mother and father (who, though separated, reunite upon this calamity). How can the parents reconcile these two things?: 1)Their child is dead; 2)He looks alive, he breathes. Maylis De Kerangal's language is painterly and descriptive but masterfully restrained. Even when the emotions she describes are rending, her words are controlled and unsentimental, deepening their strength and pathos. The letters on the page are black and white, but reading them you feel as if you've absorbed them in vivid gouache--cadmium red, ultramarine, sap green-you can picture every room or space De Kerangal puts you in, and every person in it. That said--it is the English version I have read; and I should make it clear, when I praise the language, it is Sam Taylor who has beautifully, effectively, smoothly translated the text I describe. This is a modern novel, up-to-the-minute, with cell phones, medical monitors, state of the art science (as well as ordinary family scenes, love affairs and quickies, children, tattoos, same-sex partnerships and the social stamp of now) . And yet, Kerangal subtly summons up ur-old forces here, reviving a respect for human grandeur that belongs to antiquity, to myth. As a surgeon stitches Simon's body neatly together , he sings over him reverently, "like the aoidos, the rhapsodist of ancient Greece," unaware he's doing it, moved, perhaps unconsciously, by "his youthful beauty fresh from the waves of the sea, his hair still sticky with salt and curly like those companions of yearning Ulysses."An unforgettable book, exalting the human body, and spirit, in extremis.

  • Mai Laakso
    2019-05-16 08:21

    Luin ranskalaisen Maylis de Kerangalin moneen kertaan palkitun Haudataan kuolleet, paikkaillaan elävät teoksen, ja vielä nytkin kirjan lauseiden aaltomainen kuohunta ottaa valtaansa ja vie mennessään, tuo tullessaan raadeltuna. Kirjan päähenkilö, nuori Simon Limbres, harrastaa lainelautailua ja kirjan alku kertoo juuri tästä harrastuksesta, ja viimeisestä lainelautailumatkasta ystävien kanssa.Marianne ja Sean ovat Simonin vanhempia, ja heidän pitää päättää juuri sellaisella hetkellä, kun suru ja tragedia ovat iskeneet päälle, poikansa elinten luovutuksesta. Kirja kaivelee tunteiden syvimmät salaisuudet, petolliset ja kauheat pelot tuonpuoleisesta, kun haluaa elätellä toivoa jälleennäkemisestä, ja haluna nähdä oma lapsi juuri sellaisena kuin hän oli eläessään. Simonissa ei näy merkkejä aivokuolemasta, sillä hänen vahva sydämensä lyö voimakkaasti ja pitää kehon nuoren nukkuvan pojan kehona, ei kuolleen ihmisen kehona. Päätös on siis valtava tragedia vanhemmille.

  • Neil
    2019-05-08 09:31

    Utterly compelling. I could not put it down. Who knew that a book about a heart transplant operation could be so completely gripping and all-consuming? The writing is a key factor here: the language and style bring an immediacy and an urgency to everything. The translation must be, I think, amazing. Clearly, I haven't read the original, but this English version is so good it is hard to imagine the book starting life in a different language.It's a sad story with an element of hope as it explores the lives of people involved in a tragic accident and the subsequent "harvesting" of organs and transplant of a heart.Wonderful book.

  • Paul Fulcher
    2019-05-19 10:27

    "For Thomas Remige, a clear refusal was worth more than a consent torn from someone in confusion, delivered with forceps, and regretted fifteen days later when people are ravaged by remorse, losing sleep and sinking in sorrow, we have to think of the living, he often says, chewing the end of a match, we have to think of the ones left behind - on the back of his office door, he had taped a photocopied page for Platanov, a play he'd never seen, never read, but this fragment of dialogue between Voinitzev and Triletski, found in a newspaper left lying around at the laundromat, had made him quiver the way the child discovering his fortune quivers, a Charizard in the pack of Pokemon cards, a golden ticket in the chocolate bar. What shall we do, Nicolas? Bury the dead and mend the living." "Réparer les vivants" by Maylis de Kerangal has rather unusually been rendered into English at the same time in two different translations being translated as "Mend the Living" by Jessica Moore in the UK, which is the edition I've read, and "The Heart" by Sam Taylor in the US. Each translators has made one ostensibly rather odd decision: Moore (UK) has chosen to translate the name of the central, albeit passive, character as Simon Limbeau vs. the original Limbres. In the translator's afterword, she explains that character names are very important to de Kerangal. and, in French, Simon's name carries echoes of "limbes", French for limbo hence "Limbeau", albeit not sure I'm convinced, and she hasn't similarly altered other names that work more in the French. But the US book title - either at Taylor or perhaps the publisher's insistence - is a very odd choice. The original comes from a line from the Chekhov play Platonov as per the opening quote. Taylor also translates the line in the novel as "What shall we do, Nicholas ? Bury the dead and mend the living", so why change the title so something so bland? Also compare below the opening paragraph, or part of it as the sentence runs on. My immediate impression is that Moore seems to have adopted a more lyrical word choice ("cadence" vs. "rhythm", "waltz" vs "dance", "constricts" vs "tightens", "unrolled" vs. "set in motion"). But her sentence construction has more fidelity to the original - perhaps too much so as Taylor's reads better in English. Original: "Ce qu’est le cœur de Simon Limbres, ce cœur humain, depuis que sa cadence s’est accélérée à l’instant de la naissance quand d’autres cœurs au-dehors accéléraient de même, saluant l’événement, ce qu’est ce cœur, ce qui l’a fait bondir, vomir, grossir, valser léger comme une plume ou peser comme une pierre, ce qui l’a étourdi, ce qui l’a fait fondre – l’amour ; ce qu’est le cœur de Simon Limbres, ce qu’il a fi ltré, enregistré, archivé, boîte noire d’un corps de vingt ans, personne ne le sait au juste, seule une image en mouvement créée par ultrason pourrait en renvoyer l’écho, en faire voir la joie qui dilate et la tristesse qui resserre, seul le tracé papier d’un electrocardiogramme déroulé depuis le commencement pourrait en signer la forme, en décrire la dépense et l’effort, l’émotion qui précipite..." Jessica Moore: "What it is, Simon Limbeau's heart, this human heart, from the moment of birth when it cadence accelerated while other hearts outside were accelerating too, hailing the event, no one really knows: what it is, this heart, what has made it leap, swell, sicken, waltz light as a feather or weight heavy as a stone, what has stunned it, what has made it melt - love; what it is, Simon Limbeau's heart, what has it filtered, recorded, archived, black box of a twenty-year old body - only a moving image created by ultrasound could echo it, could show the joy that dilates and the sorrow that constricts, only the paper printout of an electrocardiogram, unrolled from the very beginning, could trace the form, could describe the exertion and the effort, the emotion that rushes through...." Sam Taylor: "The thing about Simon Limbres’s heart, this human heart, is that, since the moment of his birth, when its rhythm accelerated, as did the other hearts around it, in celebration of the event, the thing is, that this heart, which made him jump, vomit, grow, dance lightly like a feather or weigh heavy as a stone, which made him dizzy with exhilaration and made him melt with love, which filtered, recorded, archived—the black box of a twenty-year-old body—the thing is that nobody really knows it; only a moving image created by ultrasound could echo its sound and shape, could make visible the joy that dilates it and the sadness that tightens it; only the paper trace of an electrocardiogram, set in motion at the very beginning, could draw the shape, describe the exertion, the quickening emotion..." As for the novel itself, it's the story of those involved in an organ donation in France, where the system works on presumed consent). Simon, a young surfer ("this nomadic humanity with hair discoloured by salt and eternal summer, with washed out eyes") is fatally injured in a van accident on the way back from a session: "No other surfer came to that spot. No one else approached the parapet to watch them surf. No one saw them leave the water an hour later, worn out, spent shells, legs like jelly, staggering as they crossed the beach back to the parking lot, and back to the van. No one saw their hands and feet, blue with cold and purple with bruises, nor the dry patches that cut their faces, the cracks in the skin at the corners of their lips as their teeth chattered, their jaws trembling continually, like their bodies, all three of them helpless to stop it. No one saw anything, and when they were dressed again—wool underwear beneath pants, layers of sweaters, leather gloves—no one saw them rubbing each other’s backs, unable to say anything but oh God, shit man that was awesome, when they would so have liked to talk about it, describe the rides, immortalize the legend of the session. Shivering, they got in the van and closed the doors. The engine started, and they drove away." He suffers irreversible brain damage, but crucially his heart carries on beating. As per Mollaret and Goulon's 1959 paper “coma dépassé”, what we would today call brain death, and in the novel's words: "the moment of death is no longer to be considered as the moment the heart stops, but the moment when cerebral function ceases." The highly lyrical prose (my favourite line, to her mother Simon's young sister "smells like brioche and Haribo"), written in an active present tense, has the effect of a heart beat, sometimes racing ahead, seldom pausing. A language that the novel contrasts with the sterile language of the intensive care unit: "this language they share, language that banishes the verbose as a waste of time, exiles eloquence and the seduction of words, overdoes nouns, codes and acronyms, language in which to speak signifies above all to describe - in other words, inform a team, gather up all the evidence in order to allow a diagnosis to be made, tests to be ordered, to allow people to treat and to save: power of the succinct." de Kerangal smuggles in much technical information on organ transplantation and the French system, yet the tone is very far from dry, and the technical details flow naturally into the prose, for example via a description of the bookshelves of the ICU consultant whose job is to diagnose brain death: "The two tomes of The Hour Our Death by Philippe Ariès, La sculpture du vivant by Jean Claude Ameisen from the Point Sciences collection, a book by Margaret Lock with a two-tone cover illustrating a brain called Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death, an issue of the Neurological Review from 1959 and the crime novel by Mary Higgins Clark Moonlight Becomes You - a book Revol likes, we'll find out later why." (view spoiler)[a thriller, whose plot includes a bell mechanism used to ensure people are not buried alive, relevant for the fear that haunts those asked for permission to have the organs of their loved one, brain dead but still with a beating heart, harvested (hide spoiler)]The story also explores the very varied background lives and concerns of those involved, Simon and his surfer friends, his family and girlfriend, the various medical practitioners (e.g. the tangled love life of the ICU nurse, the hallucinogenic recreational drug habit of the ICU consultant, the singing obsession of the organ donor specialist), through to the ultimate recipient of his heart: "If this is a gift, it's certainly a strange kind, she thinks. There's no giver in this exchange, no one intended to give a gift here, and likewise there is no recipient, because she doesn't have the choice of refusing the organ, she has to receive it if she wants to survive, so what then, what is it? The release pack into circulation of an organ that's still usable, carrying out it's job as a pump?" But the tale never lingers long on any of them and is always pulled back to the central "character", Simon's body and his still beating heart. A nurse in the room while his organs are "harvested" describes the scene in a way that acts as as a microcosm of the novel: "she focuses on the scene, looks one by one at each of those who are gathered at the table and the inanimate body that is the stunning centre." The overall effect, is that the detail of both the back stories and the medical technicalities rather wash over the reader in the beat of the novel's flow. But one is left instead with their cumulative and moving effects as a whole. To quote Jessica Moore, de Kerengal's "way is to approach the very tactile, grounded aspects of life in prose that astounds or makes strange, shimmering, beautiful." Strongly recommended.

  • Marika Oksa
    2019-04-26 04:16

    Pitäisi olla jo nukkumassa, mutta oli pakko lukea tämä loppuun.

  • Paolo Gianoglio
    2019-05-12 10:13

    Potrei dire tante cose di questo libro, potrei parlare della liricità che raggiunge in certi momenti, potrei obiettare sulla scelta di alcune storie collaterali e di alcuni personaggi, potrei sottolineare la maestria con cui la Kerengal e la sua traduttrice articolano i piani del linguaggio, senza mai perdere tensione narrativa e precisione tecnica.Potrei dire tutte queste cose, e sarebbero tutte vere. Ma questo libro mi ha colpito per un altro motivo. E’ una narrazione che sembra descrizione, la Kerangal sembra raccontarci le cose come le vede, mentre le vede. Ma quando realizzi questo, e ti chiedi dove sia seduta questa magica osservatrice, realizzi la vera magia di questo libro. L’autrice è fuori, osservatrice fredda di tutta la storia, capace di descrivere meticolosamente l’incidente, le cure, le operazioni; e nello stesso tempo è dentro, dentro le sensazioni, il dolore, la speranza, le lacrime, ma anche l’attesa, le ambizioni, il dovere, la normalità quotidiana di chi fa un lavoro strano come espiantare cuori. Fuori e dentro, lontano e vicino, lirico e freddo, questo libro alterna tutto questo, anzi fonde tutto questo, quasi esistesse una posizione altra in cui si possa essere al tempo stesso estranei e presenti, intimi ma non invadenti, rispettosi dei dettagli ma non voyeur. E questo credo sia il segreto per cui, arrivati di fronte a certe scene, la sensazione è quella di assistere a qualcosa di profondamente sacro, una cerimonia umana che fonde tragedia e poesia, un’esaltazione laica della vita umana per ciò che rappresenta in sé.

  • Marcello S
    2019-04-30 08:26

    L’inizio sembra Giorni selvaggi rivisto da Emma Cline. L’epica del surf sovrascritta ai limiti del concesso.  Periodi lunghissimi, ampollosi, un po’ autocompiaciuti.Le frasi belle ci sono ma a volte sono più una distrazione che puro coinvolgimento.Per il tipo di storia forse avrei preferito una scrittura più secca, un maggiore controllo, meno poesia. Immersioni chirurgiche alla McEwan. Da maneggiare con cautela. [67/100]

  • Elalma
    2019-05-06 05:30

    Un modo di narrare coinvolgente, minuzioso, preciso non ha allentato il nodo alla gola con cui ho letto questo libro, rapidamente, forse per non soffermarsi sul dolore o per sfuggire all'inevitabile immedesimazione. La morte fa troppo paura, quando la si analizza in tutti i dettagli, quando ci si chiede "ma è morto eppure respira..." oppure "è viva ma il cuore è fermo..". Il risultato è molto efficace, per nulla morboso né pietistico.

  • Joce (squibblesreads)
    2019-04-28 10:08

    4.25 stars

  • Laline Paull
    2019-05-02 05:17

    I've been forcing this book on people since I read it - I can't even remember how I first heard about it but the other day I was delighted to be asked to blurb the new paperback edition, and I say words to the effect (if not these actual ones) 'I wish I'd written this book. Brilliant in every way.'A great cathartic poetic leap of the imagination. And apparently she has stage presence like a rock star too. FFS!

  • Iwan
    2019-05-05 06:30

    Update mei 2016Op dit moment wordt gewerkt aan een verfilming van het boek zie ik op IMDB. Omdat het boek zo beeldend is geschreven hoop ik dat de film trouw zal zijn aan het verhaal van De Kerangal. dit boek niet terugkomt in de eindejaarslijsten kan ik het niet laten om het nog een keer aan te bevelen. De levenden herstellen is voor mij het Beste boek van 2015 (gevolgd door Muidhond en De onderwaterzwemmer).Reserveer het bij de bib of koop het boek. (nee, ik krijg geen commissie voor mijn missiewerk).Mijn eerdere recensie...Een jonge golfsurfer komt na een auto-ongeluk om het leven. Het verhaal beschrijft de uren voorafgaand aan het ongeluk door de ogen van het slachtoffer en de uren na het ongeluk door de ogen van zijn vader en moeder (die het ziekenhuis bezoeken waar hun zoon kunstmatig in coma wordt gehouden), het medisch personeel dat hem verzorgt en prepareert voor een harttransplantatie en de ontvanger van zijn donorhart. Dat het verhaal keihard binnenkwam heeft te maken met het verhaal zelf maar vooral met de manier waarop Maylis De Kerangal haar verhaal vertelt. Hoe ze haar woorden kiest, groepeert en in elkaar klikt doet me denken aan de dribbelacties van grote voetballers (als Cruijff, Maradonna en Messi): op het moment dat je verwacht dat De Kerangal haar zin met een punt gaat afsluiten, zet ze een komma en dribbelt ze verder, en deze schijnbeweging maakt ze keer op keer. Haar dribbels zijn functioneel omdat je als lezer meerent en het gevoel hebt dat je buiten adem raakt, net als het personage in wiens hoofd je je op dat moment bevindt.Is het boek dan één lange rush, een solo van 274 pagina's? Nee, gelukkig niet. Zo nu en dan last De Kerangal een kleine adempauze in, in de vorm van een flashback of een dialoog. De afwisseling in stijl en het grote aantal rijk uitgewerkte personages maakt dit het verpletterendste boek dat ik de afgelopen jaren heb gelezen. Ik vermoed dat ik er een favoriete schrijver bij heb gekregen.19-7 Recensie in NRC (via Blendle € 0,29)

  • Paul
    2019-05-24 08:25

    Simon Limbeau is in search of that perfect wave. He knows it is out there, and perhaps this will be the day that he finds it, the forecast seems to indicate that it will be good. Rising just before 6 am, he ventures into the freezing morning to climb in the van with his friends to hit the beach. It is a journey Simon has undertaken hundreds of times. Waves were found, ridden and conquered and they pile back in the van trying to warm up. Chris turns the key in the van and begins the return journey; all their lives were just about to change for ever. Simon was not wearing a seatbelt and as Chris dropped off to sleep, the van drifted to the left until it hit the pole. All three lads were rushed to hospital following the accident and parents were contacted. Marianne, Simon’s mum, gets to the hospital. Looking shell shocked, she is ushered into a meeting with the doctor. Simon’s condition is serious, very serious indeed.So begins the sensitive telling of a story that is a parent’s worst dilemma. It is a short book, often captivating, always emotional, but occasionally dips a little to heavily into technical jargon. However, De Kerangal’s sparse prose is what carries this story, making what is an intensely charged read, a thing of beauty still. It is a sad, touching story, sensitively told.

  • Nike
    2019-05-17 04:11

    Het relaas van een donorhart van bij het overlijden van de donor tot het inplanten bij de ontvanger + een inkijkje in de hoofden van alle mensen die erbij betrokken zijn (de familie, het medische team, het liefje,...). de Kerengal heeft een specifieke stijl en gebruikt lange zinnen. Het vraagt wat inspanning in het begin, maar het is erg genietbaar. Mooi hoe ze de vertwijfeling van de ouders schetst. En hoe ze haar personages echt en liefdevol neerzet. Fjoew, intens. Topper om een nieuw leesjaar mee in te zetten.

  • Antonomasia
    2019-05-23 11:24

    Read in Jessica Moore's translation, published in the UK and Canada as 'Mend the Living'. (The US translation, by Sam Taylor, is called 'The Heart'.)Sometimes superlative, sometimes infuriating. Like Lee in his review of another recent translated novella, The Story of My Teeth, I want to give this both 1 star and 5 stars. (But definitely not 6 stars.) It does at least succeed in transcending the cheap-magazine, commercial-weepie idea of the story of a heart transplant.From the get-go, there are stunningly immersive, visceral descriptions of experiences, like the opening scene of surfing whose language and structure elevates it way above what it basically is - the begining of an episode of Casualty. The series' viewers know that at least one person is going to get seriously injured, and that the scene was constructed for this meretricious purpose and enables the rest of the action to happen, so they laugh at the inevitable cliches and compete to guess exactly what's going to happen and to whom, able to treat the whole business with detachment because the show has been going for decades. We all know the pattern by now. But even possessing that cynical history - which the non-British reader mostly lacks - it was impossible in many instances not to get lost in writing which is both technical and emotionally involving, in the breathless run-on sentences which fit an emergency, or sport: time is slowed to near freeze-frame and experienced minutely, yet all these moments are also integral parts of a fast-paced process. That first scene is like the Guinness surfer ad x100, with so much before and after, and you feel it on you skin, in your lungs, it’s the take-off, superfast phase when the whole world concentrates and rushes forward, temporal flash when you have to inhale sharply, hold your breath and gather your body into a single action, give it the vertical momentum that will stand it up on the board, feet planted wide, left one in front, regular, legs bent, and back flat nearly parallel to the board, arms spread to stabilise it all, and this second is decidedly Simon’s favourite, the one that allows him to grasp the whole explosion of his own existence, and to conciliate himself with the elements, to integrate himself into the living, and once he’s standing on the board – estimated height from trough to crest at that moment is over one metre fifty – to stretch out space, lengthen time, and until the end of the run to exhaust the energy of each atom in the sea. Become the unfurling, become the wave.He lets out a whoop as he takes this first ride, and for a period of time he touches a state of grace – it’s horizontal vertigo, he’s neck and neck with the world, and as though issued from it, taken into its flow The book is extraordinarily vivid yet has a middle-aged person's overview of the younger characters - in a way that was satisfying to me, but I imagined a teenager reading it and thinking how old the writer sounded. (I was so sad that English slang is the norm and the cool thing for young people in other countries. And felt it needed that remove in age to comment so perceptively on how girlfriend Juliette noticed she'd unconsciously fallen into the pattern, witnessed on TV and in real life, of the woman who doesn't want the man to leave her at home whilst he goes out on an adventure, whilst she had never wanted to be that. Even if her experimental art is a kind of adventure itself).There are also some great little windows into the worlds of staff members beyond their work - again, absolutely engrossing; it's amazing how much is inside such a short book. The unusually intellectual lead transplant nurse, his classical singing hobby (so classic an interest for lawyers and doctors), his Algerian partner and their trip to get a pet goldfinch. But he rode a motorbike, with no comment on this: where oh where is the old standby that doctors' slang for bikers was 'donors'? The book could be too self-serious at times and the black humour of the medical profession was ridiculously missing.The twentysomething female nurse, though, so typical of many younger people in helping professions who try to play as hard as they work and then find themselves so tired at work that it's actually painful - yet they still usually get the job done fine. One suspects it would be shocking to service users to know that staff are not only thinking about the job, but also remembering dates and sex and mulling over future phone calls; actually there's room in the mind for all of these. I loved the scandalous authenticity of Cordelia's day and the spot-on descriptions of the stages of tiredness. It's what the experience of work is like for many at that age, but in serious public service occupations, one can't speak of it. The account of inner experience makes it far more real on the page than it ever would be in a TV medical drama.Since I started taking notice of full longlists for the Independent Foreign Fiction prize - whose format the Booker International took over in 2016 - each year there have been one or two books I had a strong aversion to reading. Mend the Living was one of those - although it was only an aversion to the extent that I wouldn't have bought the book - even more so because it was very highly priced for something so short, at about £10 in the weeks following the longlist announcement. I did request this ARC (and might have borrowed a library or friend's copy if one had been available with no extra effort) - but there were times when I regretted it, when it turned out parts of the book annoyed me as much as I thought the whole thing might before I saw and loved the opening pages - albeit not always in the same ways. There were times, mostly in the middle, when I could hardly face returning to the book, when even the writing style began to grate - not because of itself, but because it evoked other pages and different scenes.Another Goodreads reviewer found the book (in the US translation) too detached; that gave me high hopes because if there was anything I didn't want from this book, it was mawkishness. The author's previous book translated into English is about building a bridge - I hoped Mend the Livingmight also be the story of an applied scientific process that, on average, takes place ten times a day worldwide, and the people involved. Which, in many ways it is, and the use of specialist vocab was satisfying. However, three categories of things got on my nerves, two of which I would say were about the book, and the others which were more idiosyncratic personal opinions less likely to be found here.After a little bit at the beginning, it looked like the cultural, unscientific idea of the heart wasn't going to get in the way and dominate the book after all, but it resurfaced repeatedly in the second half. The narrative and characters know that the heart is not itself responsible for emotion, but still there are far too many plunges into this set of metaphors. I was looking and hoping not just for people to say it isn't the heart (which they do, and then float off in a lyrical reverie as if it was) but to communicate, at least sometimes, that the physical entities those cultural meanings actually relate to are parts the brain and nervous system, and related hormones and neurotransmitters, which, given the other terms in this book, would be well within its scope to name. They are the self far more than the heart is. I am not the biggest fan of Richard Dawkins, but here I kept remembering his idea that nature is wonder and awe enough on its own, and fictitious ideas of god are not actually needed to have a spiritual-feeling experience of the natural world. (The closest quote I can find without trawling through hundreds is: “There's real poetry in the real world. Science is the poetry of reality.”) The recipient's imagining of animals eating the old heart at a rubbish dump and then taking on her characteristics similarly annoyed me. If it worked that way, humans and dogs and cats would be walking around looking like farmyard livestock. I found aspects of the donor's parents difficult to believe as well as frustrating, and thought that if they were meant to illustrate a point or a type, certain characteristics needed to be different. (The family's surname has been unnecessarily changed in this translation, to Limbeau instead of the equally intelligible Limbres.) Thinking that it was utterly obvious that if a strapping, healthy young man is brain dead, transplant donation would be the thing to discuss, urgently - that it was a question that many people would start to answer before they'd been asked out loud, so ingrained is it now, like a fire drill, I discussed it with a friend who although very intelligent had no background beyond school biology up to age 14, and who avoids TV medical dramas (from where people perhaps pick up the idea). He also thought it was obvious too. Yet these educated people take ages to work out where the conversation is going, and remain bewildered by the idea. It seemed even more ridiculous because both father and son were involved in outdoor and extreme sports. Okay, I've never spent much time with canoers and surfers specifically - and perhaps my acquaintance is biased towards people with scientific awareness - but in at least some similar sporting fields, thinking about what one would want in case of a serious accident, and remembering friends of friends or stars who did come a cropper, is a part of the culture and normal conversation: you do these things and see others doing them, knowing the risk. And those close to you would know what you wanted. It's obviously a shock if something bad does happen, because the odds are it won't and that's the basis upon which you act, but death and injury are closer to normal life than among, say, people who work in offices and who have social circles insulated from the worlds of either extreme sport or disability. I also found it bizarre that the mother was angry about (view spoiler)[her son having the surfboard, but never once about the van not having enough seatbelts, when that was actually what killed him. Perhaps the French have a different culture about seatbelts (hide spoiler)]. The book sadly allows the parents' refusal of donation of anything above the neck, 'not his eyes' to go unquestioned. I do understand the thing about the head being sort of sacred, I used to feel it too. It's just that a friend of mine is waiting for a cornea transplant and it's decisions like that family's which make it take longer. I don't think it would be outside the scope of the book to include something about people who did need those, and make readers feel differently from the couple in the book. The translation's frequent use of the word 'harvesting' is off-key and lacks audience awareness. In Britain at least, the word has negative and brutal connotations, such as in new reporting of the Alder Hey organ retention scandal, or illegal / grey market practices of mass organ selling or forced "donation", often in the developing world. It has some place as a synonym in an extended piece of writing like this, but "transfer", "removal", "taking for donation" and other terms all feel more normal and preferable.There's a strangely frequent use of the speculative here: "perhaps" a character did or felt something - as if this were a biography not a piece of fiction; as if the author had forgotten she created them and can decide what they do and feel. Having noticed this occasionally in a Manchette thriller I read recently, I wonder if it is a French mannerism. There are books in which it might make sense, but there is such an intense engagement with most of these characters here that it just seemed odd to suddenly not know when other, equal things were known. Whilst I think it was reasonable to expect better attention to those details in the preceding paragraphs, I was also frustrated by a lack of questioning which it wasn't so fair to expect. Some of them fundamental underpinnings of medicine which I was annoyed about whilst reading but have not included here. There isn't a comparison of the French system of compulsory anonymity with those in other countries where, as newspaper stories show, people can find out who donors and recipients were if both parties agree. Where is the common-sense suggestion that a boy in his late teens might have confided his opinions in his mates and his girlfriend more than in his parents? Where is the overview from the narrative or a character that teenagers, statistically, evolutionarily, take risks, and there's an associated death rate; in another age or lifestyle it would have been a war or a fight that got him rather than a surfing accident. Both heart ailments generally and transplant surgery are very well-funded areas of medicine which already have a lot of respect and attention, both for the work and the patients - in great contrast with some less glamorous areas which languish.There is a frustrating amount of identification of the dead body with the person who used to be in it, as if they were in some way still there. I'd like to meet characters who find it nonsensical to put headphones on the ears of a dead body and to play music to it, whilst complying simply because they understand it's decent to do so. That request is just one of the many moments that reminded me how medical education among the general public is poor, and wonder why human biology is still not considered as vital a subject as one's native language and maths. I also dislike the patronising manner, here described as 'chummy', used by many nurses - but fictional characters, as here, never seem to mind it although plenty of real people detest it, and find it draining to have to be polite in the face of it at times when extra strain is least welcome. And then there's that ghoulish practice of viewing bodies in the funeral parlour, prior to which they are supposed to be prettified. Acknowledgements at the end of the book mention that translator Jessica Moore is also a poet and musician: this is reflected in the highly poetic, flowing prose of this translation. Personally I loved the style, far more than excerpts I've seen from the more mundane US translation, but some seem to have found it overpoweringly florid, and a comment which bears repeating (from the NYRB via Michael Orthofer of the Complete Review) is that "each translator would have been the other's best editor". There is some amazing writing here, but Mend the Living didn't quite fulfil my hopes of combining that with a fully scientific approach. I've been known to criticise the 'scientism' of the New Atheists, but this book brought up too many points on which I more or less share their rather hardened manner, making me not the most suitable reviewer for the audience that liked many of the more emotional reviews on here. Although the novel is still a very interesting and distinctive combination of topic and style. I was already keen to read the previously translated Birth of a Bridge, and although after moments of exasperation with this book, I can now imagine quibbles over environmental matters, the immersive feeling and the attention to specialist detail in Mend make me more interested in that one. Thank you to Netgalley, and the publisher Maclehose Press (part of Hachette UK) for this review copy.