mercredi 29 mai 2013

Darren Holmes, l’étoffe d'un photographe

Mon interview de Darren Holmes, photographe canadien de talent, a été publiée sur le webzine Les Editions du Faune. Je vous invite donc à aller la lire sur place :

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My interview of Darren Holmes, a talented Canadian photographer, has been published on the online magazine Les Editions du Faune. 
As far as the English version is concerned, it can be found below.

Darren Holmes, the punk tailor of photography.

Like a Pandora’s box, his intimate and exhibitionist boudoirs release disturbed and disturbing, graceful and clumsy characters. Their insolence and vitality dance to the rhythm of psychological improvisations. A magnified glass that never lies and that gets us addicted to the recklessness of humans. Photography meets painting, with grandeur, humour and power.

Aina and Ameliana

Before starting photography, you were a painter and a drawer. What was missing then that pushed you toward photography? At the same time, how were these disciplines helpful in photography?
I grew up thinking I’d be some visual artist.  I was never high technique, very undisciplined.  I never took the time to develop it. Cross-hatched pen and ink drawings like mad.  I think what pulled me toward photography was...maybe, the ability to create images without having to look through whatever sort of colouring that you get from....mechanics, like drawing style or whatever.  There were things I could see in my mind that I couldn’t draw, and even as a kid it always seemed to be a more interesting challenge to manipulate people or objects to create some scene for a camera.

How do you proceed? Is it first an idea that makes you seek a specific model? Or does it also happen that an inspiring model should activate your artistic process ?
I used to work in the moment without any agenda to start…that was early on.  That's just reaction isn't it?  There's no thinking there.  Over time I then began developing the subject I wanted to create then find people who could potentially fill the roles.  I’m more relaxed these days.  I work with my repetitive general notions, which are like world views or attitudes and then leave room for the energy, the kind of presence someone is.  It’s always a cooperative effort, like learning to dance with someone and the push and pull of that.  

Dancing on Tombstones

You seem to have a liking to natural light. What is there in it more than a studio shooting ?
Yeah, I have a weird thing with flash, I use it all the time now but these big window boxes that don't impose.  Artificial light is like lightning, sometimes I think of it that way.  You're lucky when it starts a fire nearby and you can work with it.  Natural light has always said to me “this is a real moment”…even if it’s staged it’s with the feeling of a real time and place.  It can say “we were just here, doing this thing.  And then it looked like an interesting story so I picked up the camera”.  When it came to using flash I needed it to feel like that.

What part does editing take in your work ?
I don't feel any attachment to what the camera sees as something “real” it's kind of a raw material for me.  Of course the story has to be in the image.  I see work where the story is actually the editing, that seems backwards to me.  You're supposed to be seduced into believing someone's truth, not marvelling at the least for me anyway.  The images need to have a familiarity, like a real space to them.  Maybe like a shot of a theatrical production in progress, in front of you.  

Farrah's Bones

In some of your shots, the colours and the contrast are very sharp, while in some others the treatment is tone on tone, even at the limits of desaturation. How does your choice work?
I used to have more variety but I started to feel as if they were just aesthetic self-conscious choices.  I don't want people to see the photograph, I want them to see the scene and kind of ignore the photograph, if that makes any sense.  I like the idea now of these images being little dioramas that you carry around with you, maybe it's a box with miniature people in it, sleeping.  And you pull it out and turn on the light and they wake up and get into position, just for you.   A photographer friend just mentioned to me that they loved the skin, loved the emotion of the work…so maybe that says something about all of this.

Some persons may feel uncomfortable when facing some of your photographies (I'm thinking about Cherlyn Jeff Zephraim). The erotic patent of your characters happens to be odd, even disturbing. Why choose this two-level reading ? What would be your answer to them?
Eroticism is a whole brain thing, it doesn't live in our crotches...we screw that up all the time I guess because our release valve is there.  It’s not an appreciation of beauty really…it’s an appreciation of some scene as a whole entity, what someone says or doesn’t say, how people carry themselves.  Hey, someone who is...maybe brash and aggressive and powerful and expressive is more 'erotic' than someone in some languid self-conscious pose.  We should let everything open that channel.  Admire a tree but also admire the bed of millenia of living things that lived and died to put it there.  When you admire beauty you admire that soil. They need each other.  It's not a morbid thing for me, just a plain truth.

Cherlyn Jeff Zephraim

In recent photographies of yours underlies a critic of society and religion (I'm thinking about A Fairy Presidential Portrait or Theologian, Skin and Bones). You tackle these topics with humour, could you tell us why?
Theologian, Skin and Bones was a portrait of an actual student of theology.  We had a great conversation about his studies and it's really not about just accepting what you're told, it's about rolling something around in your mind, questioning it, looking for cracks, debating with yourself.  That isn't what you see in pop religion, which seems to be polarized and this idea of you're either with us or against us.  I've always wanted to be irreverent, tear down your idols kind of thing.  When I used to draw I had an almost manic sense of humour, how can I stick something in here that’s just strange and completely outrageous for the scene?  A lot of that comes into the work, but less like poking a stick now, it’s really guttural for me.  I don't overthink anymore, if I just see myself naked wrapped around a woman’s head then I do that.  There's probably a lot of subconscious quoting or inspiration from just living a life, but it can also be just an interesting idea.  So you can enjoy this at whatever level you wish.

Some years ago, your photography was very close to painting. Today, you add a lucid realism about human nature. Could you tell us how you've come to move towards these more 'instantaneous' scenes?
What a great description, instantaneous.  I think that describes it…I used to be very inspired by certain things, you could say impressionism.  I started to feel like I wanted to get out of the way and stop telling people what to think.  I can see now that I’ve been in a process of getting rid of any style in my work, just trying to let the scene speak for itself.  The photographer shouldn’t be telling the viewer how to interpret the scene, it should just be what it is and you make up your own mind.

                                              Reclining on Ikea Carpet While Chrissy Contemplates Superherodom

You have no will to hide the backstage. Why, for instance, showing the tape or an Ikea carpet? You appear to be set free from any constraint now...
That’s it …there’s no disguising that these scenes are invented reality…if I spent time trying to hide the fact that it’s a stage with wires and other equipment it would be like trying to tell an obvious lie to your face.  I want to give the viewer as much information as possible.  So I’m asking you to witness my actors and the production, and assess it for what it is.  And decide if it says something you are interested in hearing.  

There happens to be a hand or a foot coming in from outside the frame of the picture, as if to play down the importance of the action that is being played or, on the contrary, to reinforce it. Is it humility or a certain sense of humour on your part?
There’s a sense lost in most photography that we are witnessing a point of view…we seem to always forget that.  It's a really long series of choices and yet some people still talk about photography as being able to show reality.  I don't get that.  For me the frame is part of the image and reminds me that just outside of this there are things going on.  You know I could have moved the camera one way or another but this is the choice I made.

Pre-Motherhood Passion Play

This takes me to the originality of your frames. They either overhang, or show the space normally reserved to the photographer, or even remain at ground level. Is it your will to demonstrate that one may easily stumble and fall in a clumsy but graceful moment? Even that one should do so?
I’ve had more stumbles than graceful moments but that’s really what we are, socially kind of awkward, nervous, just wanting to fit in?  Years ago I spent more time making frames perfect, but I love the rough edges.  I think you are onto something, by not pursuing perfection I’m coming to some acceptance.  Just let it be what it is.  I guess most of us are trying to just figure that out.

Some other shots also give us a great feeling of dizziness and depth. I believe you like to play with the viewers' sensations. 
Do you mean images shot from above ?  You can defy gravity, and release yourself from some literal world, just a bit.  Maybe it’s a way to step away from those constraints….

This Is What Artist Statement Are For

You don't make their job easier, do you ?
I don't like to make the subject's job any easier...I'm always asking for sort of the image between the two posed ones.  I don't want you ready, I like unsteadiness, looking uncomfortable or cold or something.  Seeing that on a face is real truth.

Your characters are very contrasted. Strength and frailty, invitation and reserve, provocation and resistance. They either defuse or envenom the scenery. How do you get the models to express that? 
You know it is like a dance, like I mentioned, and usually I just met the person for the first time or maybe I've known them for a long time but not where they're standing in front of the camera and not knowing what to do next. 

The Story of Olex

How much time and confidence does it take?
I never know until I'm with the subject, I don't know what to do either.  So we start this slow thing, circling, building up a conversation, I start to see little jewels like expressions or things they do that really interest me.  It's almost always different than I imagine so I try not to think ahead about working with a subject, it just gets in the way.  I just meet them and then cue the [imaginary] band, and start.

While the poses, the accessories and the costumes refer to classicism, the expressions and the relationship between the characters are more modern. Is this blending of static and dynamics, of narration and concept, a voluntary approach, or doest it rather result from accidents in a shooting?
The things that aren't planned is the good stuff.  I like seeing unconscious mannerisms, you can really build on those things, how someone prefers to stand or relax.  It's something I developed over time, not to hang on to an idea but to work with what's in front of you.

Miss Shaman Cristina

Some of your characters eat their hair, have a foot on their head or throw up leaves and ropes. What is this attraction to incongruousness ? Do you reckon that humans are moving and captivating only when exposing their flaws? A little bit like broken dolls or injured animals?
I'd be interested to know what you remember of our shooting in Paris years ago and that approach.  I'm obsessed with some images, having to do with insides coming out, outsides going in, voluntary restriction, pain, ecstasy, not talking but just...channelling something.  We're only honest when we're in some explosion or crisis aren't we?  Isn't that when we really know ourselves?  The rest is just performance.  I've heard myself at functions laying out words in sentence form, slowly and carefully so others will understand, when all I think is, somebody's got to be fucking honest in this room!  Why are we not saying what matters?

You seem more provocative and playful than before. Why this apparent casualness? Have you gotten tired of academicism?
I didn't realize it but that could be a good way to describe what I was doing.  I would love to peel off people's intellectual, civilized layers and see them as the grunting beasts they are, spewing every dirty or aggressive little thought in their brains. If there was a drug that could induce Tourette's for a while I'd be the first to try it.  I understand that civilization needs more than that to function.  But we need the people who abandon it as well, to see the things we don't see anymore because we're all too important and grown-up for these silly games.

Theologian, Skin and Bone

Apart from that, you've been invited to speak at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, also at Kiev and Moscow. What was it all about ?
[Darren's wife] Chantal and I were invited over to Kiev and Moscow to speak, exhibit my work and to write a story for Photo Masterskaya which is a Russian photography magazine.  Statues of Lenin everywhere, it reminded me that there's a different story that people are raised with there, alternative points of view.  They have a thousand years of Russia, Lenin, the revolution and everything else.  Our backgrounds are totally different...even if we look and act the same.  I was at MICA to speak along with several other artists and show my work.  The thing that occurred to me was how insular I work, spending my time inside my head, and then to get out and realize that I had been letting a whole bunch of people see into my private thoughts as well.

You've been commissioned to create book cover artwork, such as the hard cover for The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani. Would you like to do this again? And/or for music albums maybe?
The thing is, that it's kind of backwards from how I normally think.  When I do my work it's about my own sort of view of the state of things and then find a way to deal with that visually.  It's really a gut thing.  I guess if someone wanted that from me, and let me just do my thing, why not?  It gets to feel weird when someone asks me to take some little sliver of something I do and then fill it out with something else to fit their purpose.  It would depend on whether they wanted my work or a parody of what I do.  

Have you ever thought about creating short films and/or videoclips?
One of my plans is to create videos but it's about around the still image look that I love...I haven't gotten very far on that yet.

Don't you have any intention to publish a book about your work ? Or is it too soon to your taste ?
I've been working on material for a book, which will be a collection of modern myths or fairy tales, very short stories paired along with images. They're meant to be mostly cautionary tales in some ways. The way that they used to serve a real purpose....those stories were always about teaching people about behaving in a decent way, like treating the poor stranger with dignity because they might be an enchanted prince and they could reward you later. In the end it was always about being civilized for selfish reasons, wasn't it? I guess whatever held societies together was what mattered. We don't seem to have a lot of those kinds of stories anymore and my work has always felt to me like being a slice of time in some longer drama, in my mind at least, so this is my way to finally finish a story for some of them.

Interview by Oriane G.

lundi 27 mai 2013

The Bone Season

A son actif, Samantha Shannon, jeune auteure anglaise, a un roman non publié, Aurora, et une série de sept livres, The Bone Season, dont les trois premiers seront bientôt publiés chez Bloomsbury Publishing, et d'ores et déjà vendus dans dix-huit pays. Imaginarium Studios, quant à eux, ont mis une option sur des droits cinématographiques !
Les livres ne sont même pas encore publiés qu'ils sont déjà vendus au cinéma. L'industrie du livre, cul et chemise avec le cinéma, ce n'est pas nouveau, mais je ne m'y ferai jamais...

Chez W H Smith, la librairie anglaise où je travaille, une responsable de rayon m'a confié l'épreuve non corrigée du premier tome, Welcome to Scion - no Safer Place, afin que je lui donne mon avis.
Alors, pour commencer, voici le résumé :
Nous sommes en 2059. Paige Mahoney, âgée de dix-neuf ans, travaille clandestinement pour Jaxon Hall dans le milieu criminel de Scion à Londres, basé à Seven Dials. Sa mission : trouver des informations en pénétrant dans l'esprit des gens. Car Paige marche dans les rêves, elle est une clairvoyante et, dans le monde de Scion, le simple fait de respirer fait d'elle une traitresse.
Il pleut le jour où sa vie change à jamais. Attaquée, kidnappée et droguée, Paige est transportée à Oxford, dans une cité gardée secrète depuis deux cents ans et contrôlée par une race surnaturelle et puissante. Esclave, elle est assignée à Warden, une créature Réphaïte à la peau couleur miel sombre et aux yeux jaunes aux très longs cils. Il est son maître, son entraîneur, son ennemi naturel. Mais si Paige veut recouvrer la liberté, elle doit accepter d'être éduquée dans cette prison où elle est destinée à mourir.

Pour être tout à fait honnête, le début de lecture est un peu fastidieux. L'introduction de ce nouveau monde paraît quelque peu informatif, voire journalistique. Mais Scion étant complexe, je ne pense pas que Samantha Shannon aurait pu faire mieux. Il faut prendre le temps de comprendre toutes les catégories de pouvoirs surnaturels et les hiérarchies dans les deux cités, car l'auteure réussit son pari : nous faire nous attacher aux personnages. Les convictions, les voix intérieures sont vraisemblables, les liens entre les personnages crédibles, la toile se tisse sans que l'on s'en rende compte. Même les seconds rôles accrochent l'œil, touchants et convaincants.
Quant aux scènes d'action, elles ont le mérite de ne pas être marseillaises ni de partir dans tous les sens. Elles sont très bien insérées et rythmées.

L'écriture n'est donc pas d'un grand niveau, on est loin de Poppy Z. Brite ou de J. K. Rowling, mais le roman se laisse lire, cette première partie nous laissant même sur notre faim.
Le but de Samantha Shannon n'a sûrement pas été de rédiger le roman du siècle, mais en l'an 2013 quoi demander à la Fantasy d'autre que de nous divertir ? Sûrement pas de poser des questions profondes. Et on peut compter sur les média et la publicité pour nous vendre une odyssée alléchante, à laquelle on ne manquera pas de mordre !

* * *

Samantha Shannon, a young English writer, first began writing at the age of fifteen. Her first novel Aurora remains unpublished, but today the first three parts of her seven-part series, The Bone Season, is to be published at Bloomsbury Publishing, and is already sold in eighteen countries. As far as film rights are concerned, they've been optioned by Imaginarium studios.

Her books are not published yet but they're already sold to the movie industry. Books and films as thick as thieves is no new phenomenon, but I'll never get used to it...

At W.H.Smith, the English bookshop where I work, a department manager entrusted me to read and give my opinion about this uncorrected proof of the first volume, Welcome to Scion-No Safer Place.

So, to start with, here is the synopsis:
The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, kidnapped and drugged, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite creature with dark honey skin and heavy-lidded yellow eyes. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

To be honest, reading the first pages was fastidious. The introduction of this brand new world felt informative, even journalistic. But Scion being complex, I don't think Samantha Shannon could have done better. Understanding the many supernatural power categories and the hierarchies within the two cities requires time, and the author meets the challenge: We get attached to the characters. Their beliefs and inner voices are plausible, and their relationships likely. The web is weaved without our noticing it. Even the secondary, but touching and convincing, characters catch our attention

As far as action is concerned, it at least never exaggerates nor disperses. Action scenes are very well inserted and in rhythm with the rest of the narration.

Shannon's writing is no high level _ we're far from Poppy Z.Brite and J.K.Rowling _ but the novel is easy-reading and this first part even leaves us hungry for more.

I doubt her goal was to write the novel of the century, but in 2013 can we ask Fantasy for more than entertaining us? No, we can't. And it surely won't open thoughtful questions either. Anyway, we can count on media and advertisement to sell us a teasing odyssey to which we won't fail to take the bait!

jeudi 9 mai 2013

La Ronde, Arthur Schnitzler, mis en scène par Ronan Viard

Voilà. Je n'aime pas le théâtre. Je sais comment cela peut être entendu, mais les comédiens qui déclament haut et fort leur texte comme s'ils avaient un groupe du 3ème âge comme audience, je ne supporte pas. Je suis donc allée « à reculons » assister à cette représentation de cette pièce datant de 1897, écrite par Arthur Schnitzler, et aujourd'hui mise en scène par Ronan Viard.
La Ronde, dix nuance de désir... Comment ne pas penser sémantiquement à 50 nuances de Grey qui a dévalisé les bourses des ménagères de par le monde, sans que l'auteure gratte jamais authentiquement le fond, les motifs ni le défoulement de ses acteurs ?  Elle s'est payée un sacré train de vie de diva à ne rien déstabiliser, à ne rien dévoiler, alors que cette pièce, La Ronde, traite véritablement, dans ce théâtre Aktéon du 11ème arrondissement de Paris, de la valse des amours, des séductions cachées et entremêlées, des fantasmes et des frustrations de chacun. Un chouia pessimiste quand même, puisqu'aucun personnage n'est solide en tant que célibataire ni ne puisse vivre une autre vie qu'une double vie. Mais c'est à l'auteur que l'on doit ce Cioranisme !

Scandale à l'époque, retiré des affiches, avant d'être rejoué et poursuivi en justice (mais les meilleurs ont gagné à la fin !). Ce sont les mensonges et la recherche d'affirmation des personnages qui les rendent justement proches de nous, maladroits et gracieux. Un chemin qu'ils ont tout tracé mais qu'ils détruisent avec innocence et délectation, fierté et besoin de reconnaissance. Quoi de mieux que le danger pour se connaître soi-même ?
Au-travers de ces chassés-croisés habilement enchaînés mais radicaux, les personnages nous font fondre et nous font rire, théâtre de boulevard tout comme théâtre fataliste. Une approche hautement crédible, délicieusement humaine, tout simplement naturelle.
Le metteur en scène a réussi à moderniser ces tranches de vie d'un autre siècle, de manière humble et dense. Le décor agencé, pourtant minimaliste (un canapé-lit et un piano), permet entrées et sorties, ombres chinoises et affrontements. L'action se trouve autant sur scène que dans les marches et les sièges du public décontenancé, dans la tête du spectateur que dans celle de l'acteur. L'interaction dès le placement des premiers spectateurs nous jette au cœur de l'action, dans un jeu de lumières qui nous rythme au grès des actes. Les fantasmes interfèrent avec la réalité, que chaque nouvelle scène balaie allègrement.
Quant aux acteurs, ils nous offrent du piano et de la danse, leur jeu touche là où il faut. Ils revendiquent et subissent l'autre, dans un besoin d'amour mais aussi de territoire. Leur jeu est d'une justesse dérangeante. En paraître ou dénudés, ils sont des cibles autant que des armes.

La Ronde, donc, que j'ai perçue comme des chaînons de vie et que je vous invite à aller voir d'ici samedi !

Andrus Kivirähk

Je rêve ou quoi ?! Le roman L'Homme qui savait la langue des serpents du renommé Andrus Kivirähk ne semble pas encore traduit en Anglais ! Paru en 2007 en Estonie, il n'est arrivé en France qu'en 2013, aux éditions Attila. Et toujours rien du côté anglo-saxon en mai 2013...? Pour une fois que la France est en avance sur quelque chose... je tombe des nues.
Je vous relate les faits : En vacances à Nice, je me promenais dans les rayons de la vieille librairie la Sorbonne quand une couverture attrapa soudain mon œil. Pour être plus exacte, tout en bas d'une étagère. Un je ne sais quoi dans l'illustration et le titre me firent m'agenouiller pour observer l'objet de plus près.
« Voici l'histoire du dernier des hommes qui parlaient la langue des serpents, de sa sœur qui tomba amoureuse d'un ours, de sa mère qui rôtissait compulsivement des élans, de son grand-père qui guerroyait sans jambes de son oncle qu'il aimait tant, d'une jeune fille qui croyait en l'amour, d'un sage qui ne l'était pas tant que ça, d'une paysanne qui rêvait d'un loup-garou, d'un vieil homme qui pourchassait les vents, d'une salamandre qui volait dans les airs, d'australopithèques qui élevaient des poux géants, d'un poisson titanesque las de ce monde et de chevaliers teutons un peu horrifiés par tout ce qui précède. »

Une analyse des symboles sociétaux et politiques de ce récit est parfaitement développée dans la postface par Jean-Pierre Minaudier. Il explique, par exemple, comment le personnage, tout en refusant les sirènes de la modernité à tout-va, ne tombe pas pour autant dans les écueils du racisme à l'envers tel Danse avec les loups.

Pour en revenir à nos serpents, poux et ours, ce récit est d'une notable justesse, une symbiose d'épique et de fantastique, d'humour et de gravité. On est embarqué dans la vie de ce jeune homme, dernier de son espèce, ballotté entre deux époques.
En ce XXIe siècle, quel que soit notre comportement quotidien, notre responsabilité environnementale, ou la personne que nous avons choisi d'être dans nos pays respectifs de crise économique, nul ne peut échapper à la résonance de son discours.
Leemet, le héros résiste aux sirènes de villages endoctrinés, défend un monde païen dans lequel il a seul sa place, plus éphémère mais significatif que personne. Kivirähk se bat aussi contre l'unisson d'une voix dirigeante et religieuse, dangereuse quand elle est vide de sens.
Ce récit est un beau parallèle avec nos évolutions industrielles et capitalistes qui abandonnent la raison et la transmission. Qui oublient leurs racines, se dénaturent et optent pour l'obsolescence et le lavage de cerveau. Deux modes de vie dont on devine lequel sera le plus fort, mais dont on préfère déjà le perdant.
Ce qui m'a également charmée dans ce livre, c'est que d'emblée s'impose un rapport et un respect à l'animal (qu'est au même, et à juste, titre l'homme). Une hiérarchie existe bel et bien, mais tous vivent en harmonie.

Ce livre est un ode à l'humanité dans ses derniers retranchements. Bref, un pamphlet fantastique à ne manquer sous aucun prétexte.

* * *

This can't be true! The Man Who Spoke Snakish by the famous Andrus Kivirähk doesn't seem to have been translated in English yet! Published in 2007 in Estonia, it was then available to French readers in 2013, thanks to the Attila publishing house. And still nothing on the Anglo-saxon's side in May 2013?! That France should once be ahead on something kind of disturbs me...

Let me relate how all that started : I was on holidays in Nice and quietly wandering through the departments of the old bookshop La Sorbonne, when the cover of a book happened to catch my eyes. More exactly, it called me from the very bottom of a shelf. Un-je-ne-sais-quoi in the illustration, or  maybe that was just the title, but I went down on my knees to get a closer look at it.
'On the fringes of medieval Christian Europe lives a forest people, whose members have so far survived thanks to their knowledge of the snake-words, and the adders are their brothers, as are the bears – although they are dim-witted and too lustful. This forest people is gradually losing its identity; they are moving to live in villages, eating tongue-numbing, tasteless bread, honouring their overlords the crusading knights, dreaming of becoming monastic eunuchs or snuggling up with the knights. Leemet, the main protagonist, whose life we follow from birth to death, is ultimately the last one who knows the snake-words, the last one who knows the dwelling-place of the mythical giant Frog of the North, who was sent to defend the land, but who has fallen into an eternal sleep.'

In the post-face, Jean-Pierre Minaudier analyses the societal and political symbols of this tale. For instance, he explains how the character manages to avoid pitfalls about reversed racism like Dance with the Wolves, while remaining deaf to the sirens of extremist modernity.

To get back to the snakes, lice and bears in hand, this tale is surprisingly accurate, fantastic and epic, both humoristic and serious. We get easily involved in the life of this young man who is the last of his species and who is shunted between two eras.

In our 21st century, whatever might be our behaviour, our environmental responsibility or the person we chose to become in our respective countries in economical crisis, no one can escape the resonance of his speech.
The hero, Leemet, yields not to the sirens of indoctrinated villages. He defends a pagan world in which there's room for no one but him. He is to last less longer than them, but he's sure to be the more meaningful of them all. Kivirähk fights the unison of a religious leading voice, which is dangerous when senseless.
The story is a good parallel with our capitalist and industrial evolutions that abandon reason and transmission, that tend to forget their origins and to get spoiled. The same ones that chose obsolescence and brain storming.
Two different ways of life are at war, whose winner we guess, but whose loser we already prefer.
Right from the start, there's a close relationship with animals, and much respect towards them (mankind is presented rightfully alike). A hierarchy does exist, but all live in harmony.

This book is an ode to humanity in a corner; a fantastic pamphlet to be missed under no circumstances.