Monday , July 26 2021

Africa by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt | The Journal of Montréal

Continuing his cycle of the invisible, which allows us to know different spiritualities, the Franco-Belgian writer Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt offers us a surprising eighth component with Felix and the Invisible Fountain.

It's been more than 20 years since Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt started his cycle of the invisible. A cycle that certainly has not gone unnoticed, many of the books that compose it – Milarepa, Sir Ibrahim and the flowers of the Koran, Oscar and the Pink Ladyetc. – in particular, have been taken to the big screen or adapted to the theater.

"This cycle bringing together texts that can be read separately came to my mind after writing Milarepaafter a big interview on Swiss cultural radio, explains Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, who was able to join his house shortly before the holiday season. At the end of the interview, the reporter asked me if I was a Buddhist and, surprised, I said no. This is where the idea of ​​a journey through all spiritualities came to me. Our lives are both visible and invisible, and I wanted to talk about it with a very respectful humanistic look. I also put the song[with

avec[com[avecMrs. Pylinska and Chopin's Secret]because it also has a spiritual influence on us. "

After having approached Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity, Judaism, Zen Buddhism, Confucianism and the symphony of emotions related to music in their own way, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt gives us an eighth part, which looks at this time in animism, a belief especially present in Africa through which animals, objects and natural phenomena can be endowed with a soul.


"I had to go to Africa on a regular basis – the first time, I was only 17 – but from the beginning, I got in the way to try to understand animism," says Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. . I have long sought to grasp this belief intellectually and one day I realized that it must be felt. It is not right to embrace animism, but with imagination. So I set aside essays to read the poems, tales, and fables of African writers. Which finally allowed him to write straight Felix and the Invisible Fountain.

The title Felix is ​​a Belleville child whose single mother has suffered for some time from a very strange evil: while she has always lit regular customers of her small cafe on Rue Ramponneau with her lively and sparkling character, Fatou is only one shadow of herself. Because if she finds every morning the strength to stand up to serve espresso or Picon beer, she is dead. A diagnosis made by Uncle Felix was able to bring from Senegal, the country of origin of his mother. And in the hope of taking Fatou to the grave without delay, this uncle will quickly visit one of the most popular marabouts in Paris, which will charge him 440 euros ($ 665) for some magic cupcakes whose result – without specifying which one! – Granted.

"Before I came to animism, I wanted to talk about caricature," says Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. Disoriented people fall into scammers, and it was important for me to mention them, to show these false marabouts. "

A trip to the end of the world

Finally, to finally heal his dysfunctional mother, Felix will have to embark on a long journey to Africa where the souls of humans, animal souls and tree souls intersect and complement each other. "It is by awakening their sensitivity and reappropriation of their culture that Fatou will be found," adds Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. Europe is the triumph of reason and Africa is the triumph of the imagination! But to make this continent feel, with its drought, hardness or incredible curves at the water's edge, has not always been easy. There was a real painter's job to do and I was always looking for the right feeling. "

"So I do not know if Felix and the Invisible Fountain will be the last book of the Cycle, because there is still something I could talk about, concludes Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. My books, I have wanted them for years and everything is put into practice when I write them … "

Felix and the Invisible Source, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, published by Éditions Albin Michel, 234 pages

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Felix and the Invisible Source, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, published by Éditions Albin Michel, 234 pages

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