Caribbean editions, 288 p., €20.70
There was Odile, then Marius… A woman, a man, waiting for the time to leave. Beings already almost fainted under the colorless sheets, wounded bodies already covered in the gray shadow of death. It was enough to speed up the flow of the morphine pump, just a little, to see these faces relax, this “weariness dissolve”.
Victoire is 25 years old and works at the Marie-Galante hospital, this “grain of gold in the chain of the Caribbean islands”, as a nurse in a palliative care unit. She has 17 patients in charge, accompanies them with all her compassion but cannot bear to see them curled up in pain.
On this delicate subject and at a time when the citizens’ convention is debating the end of life, Céline Malraux (1) has chosen the bias of fiction, drawing her words from the source of gentleness shown by her heroine towards her patients.
But Victoire doubts. And wonders “what she should do with believers. If they think they are going to paradise, should their ascent be accelerated or, on the contrary, should they prolong the consciousness which is perhaps a great happiness for them on their way to the exit? Entirely immersed in these dizzying questions, she one day receives an anonymous letter telling her how her father died when she was barely over a year old…
The impossible question of Eloi
The novel undulates gently, like the slow undertow of the waves that come and go on the shore of Marie-Galante, between Victoire’s fight against suffering and her quest for a childhood cradled by the formidable love of her mother, but deprived of a forever unknown father. It is to him however that she decides to address herself by writing him letters, as if to draw from his confiscated love the strength to move forward.
She tells him about her work at the hospital, her friendship with Eloi, an old man crippled by loneliness called to death, her love for Marc, their unborn child… She also tells him why she went into the impasse Word in the depths of which Léone lives, the dark Vestal virgin with the unfathomable eyes… Did she expect to find there an answer to Eloi’s impossible question: “What peace will I find over there? »
With intelligence and sensitivity, Céline Malraux dares the taboo subject of euthanasia, extending a solid hand to Victoire who bends under the weight of the fault. “She would have liked to have an infallible ethical protocol pointing, with the help of an imaginary arrow, the right decision. »
Leave a Reply