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Trois Femmes Puissantes - Prix Goncourt 2009


Three Strong Women (French: Trois Femmes puissantes) is a 2009 novel by the French writer Marie NDiaye. It won the 2009 Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary award.[1] The English translation by John Fletcher was published in April 2012 in the UK by MacLehose Press, and in August 2012 by Knopf in the USA.




Trois femmes puissantes - Prix Goncourt 2009



Before we can see the outcome of Norah's story, however, the narrative suddenly shifts: We are in France, in the Gironde. We briefly see Fanta, a teacher who met her French husband, Rudy, in Dakar and has joined him in the French countryside. Aha, we think: Strong Woman No. 2. (The title is actually ironic: the original Trois femmes puissantes might be better translated as "Three Powerful Women," yet each of the female protagonists is to some degree powerless.)


Marie NDiaye published her first novel, Quant au riche avenir (Minuit), at 17 years old. Since then, she has written around fifteen more, including Rosie Carpe (Minuit, Prix Femina 2001), Trois femmes puissantes (Gallimard, Prix Goncourt 2009), and La Cheffe, about a female chef (Gallimard, 2016). As a playwright, she has been awarded the theatre prize from the Académie Française.


Before long, the story of this prodigious young woman, raised by a single mother who was a teacher, whose style resisted the constraints of genre or label, became legendary. She achieved mainstream success in 2001 with Rosie Carpe, an uncanny story of displacement, shame and family betrayal which won her the Prix Femina; her 2003 play Papa doit manger [Papa Has to Eat] earned her the distinction of being the first woman since Marguerite Duras to have her work performed by the Comédie-Française during her lifetime. By 2009, when she received the Prix Goncourt for Trois femmes puissantes, translated by John Fletcher as Three Strong Women, she was already the author of a complex body of work notable for its range, introspection and psychological acuity.


Four years before Marie NDiaye won the Prix Goncourt in 2009 for Trois Femmes puissantes, she wrote the very short Autoportrait en vert (reviewed in the TLS, May 19, 2006), which has now been translated into English. At a glance, the novel sounds strange and chaotic, but a closer look reveals it to be compelling and tightly written, an unconventional example of the very French genre of "auto-fiction". The self-portrait of the title is in fact multiple portraits in one. Rather like a Francis Bacon triptych, there is nothing fixed, comforting or coherent...


Marie NDiaye was born on 4 June 1967 in Pithiviers (Le Loiret), to a French mother and Senegalese father. She and her elder brother (the sociologist Pap NDiaye) were brought up by their mother, a teacher, in the Parisian suburb of Bourg-la-Reine (Hauts-de-Seine).She published her first novel Quant au riche avenir (1985) at the age of 18, with the well-known avant-garde publishing house Les Éditions de Minuit, who would publish the vast majority of her novels (and later plays) until 2004. Her most recent texts have tended to be published by Gallimard. NDiaye is currently considered to be one of the most widely read and critically acclaimed living French authors. She won the Prix Fémina for her novel Rosie Carpe in 2001, and the Prix Goncourt for Trois femmes puissantes in 2009. In 2003, her play Papa doit manger entered the repertory of the Comédie-Française; she is the only living woman playwright to have been accorded this honour. NDiaye currently lives in Berlin with her husband, the writer Jean-Yves Cendrey, and their three children.


Trois récits, trois femmes qui disent non. Elles s’appellent Norah, Fanta, Khady Demba. Trois femmes puissantes. Aucune des trois n’est pourtant projetée dans une situation enviable. La première, Norah, a grandi en France avec sa mère et sa sœur après que son père les a abandonnées pour retourner vivre en Afrique avec leur jeune frère. Trente ans plus tard, il la convoque dans le village africain où il a fait fortune dans le tourisme, pour lui demander son aide. Norah va quitter Paris, sa famille, sa carrière d’avocate pour cette visite à son père. Ces retrouvailles plus que malaisées entre le père et la fille se révèlent devenir, pour elle, une épreuve de vérité qui met en péril son couple, sa relation avec sa propre fille, sa mémoire, sa raison même - sa vie toute entière.


Enfin, voici Khady, jeune Africaine, plus simple et plus terrienne. Chassée par sa belle-famille après la mort de son mari, elle est contrainte à l’exil, la solitude, la pauvreté, le désespoir. Elle va errer, se prostituer pour manger, et voyager jusqu’à la côte d’où on lui a promis de l’embarquer clandestinement vers l’Europe. Son histoire est peut-être la plus belle, et elle, la plus obstinée, la plus fière de ces trois femmes aux prises avec le monde qui s’ouvre à elles et en quête d’un monde qui leur appartient.


Berlin, 3. November 2009. Die französisch-senegalesische Schriftstellerin Marie NDiaye wird für ihren Roman Trois femmes puissantes mit dem undotierten, aber höchst renommierten Prix Goncourt ausgezeichnet. NDiaye wurde 1967 in Pithiviers bei Orléans geboren, sie wuchs bei ihrer französischen Mutter auf und lernte ihren senegalesichen Vater erst im Alter von 11 Jahren kennen. Ihren ersten Roman veröffentlichte NDiaye mit knapp 18 Jahren. 041b061a72


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