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Enjoy the meal! Have a good trip! Bon voyage! And see you next year! It doesn't matter. Our Life in the Forest is a fascinating look at a possible version of the future that will keep your attention and give you lots to ponder. I have only read one of French author Marie Darrieussecq's novels to date, All the Way , but I found it rather too offbeat and strange for my personal taste, and was not overly enamoured with it. Her newest offering to have been translated into English by Penny Hueston, however, sounded most interesting.
Whilst still not a fan by any means of science fiction, I have been reading a few dystopian tomes of late, and thought I would give Our Life in the Forest a go. Its blurb states that the novel wi I have only read one of French author Marie Darrieussecq's novels to date, All the Way , but I found it rather too offbeat and strange for my personal taste, and was not overly enamoured with it.
Its blurb states that the novel will challenge 'our ideas about the future, about organ-trafficking, about identity, clones, and the place of the individual in a surveillance state. A journal from beyond the grave, as time runs out And a profound novel about loneliness. She's cold.
La vie est d'hommage
Her body is falling apart, as is the world around her. She's lost the use of one eye; she's down to one kidney, one lung.
Before, in the city, she was a psychotherapist, treating patients who had suffered trauma Every two weeks, she travelled out to the Rest Centre, to visit her "half", Marie, her spitting image, who lay in an induced coma, her body parts available whenever the woman needed them. Only the privileged have halves, too; those who cannot afford the full body clones which can be used for organ replacement and the like, have jars, which are filled with just a few organs. Those who cannot afford the jars have no help or assurance at all.
Whilst introducing her plight, the narrator admonishes herself: 'Time to get a grip. I have to tell this story. I have to try to understand it by laying things out in some sort of order. By rounding up the bits and pieces.
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Because it's not going well. It's not okay, right now, all that. Not okay at all. From the outset, she has an awareness of her own mortality: 'I'm not in good shape. I won't have time to reread this. Or to write a plan. I'll just write it as it comes. None of the living protagonists, or those whom the narrator briefly comes into contact with, are really identifiable from the mass.
Using this technique, Darrieussecq ensures that her novel is at once anonymous and intimate. It feels almost as though the crisis which she has created has befallen everyone, without exception. Indeed, the narrator assumes that we know parts of her story, and have an understanding of the changed world which she lives in, already. The world building in Our Life in the Forest is effective in many ways, but there are certainly a few elements which could have done with more explanation.
To me, a relative newcomer to the dystopian genre, I found some elements to be far more interesting than others. Our Life in the Forest has been quite intricately crafted, and a lot of thought has clearly gone into the plausibility of scenes and settings. However, there is an emotionless quality to it, which in turn creates a kind of detachment.
I found my reading experience to be interesting enough, but to me, the novel was not wholly satisfying. I find the writing style quite interesting, and yet quite difficult to settle into at the same time. Again, it makes sense. The story is written as a diary to present and future readers, long after our time.
Yet, the small sliver of details slip in between the lines, the details that slowly, slowly, become a whole and give us an idea of the world. Set some time in the future where people have "halves" they use to extract organs for transplant into themselves, this story is told by one woman who is writing her life story.
La vie est d'hommage - Livres - Catalogue — Éditions du Boréal
She now lives in a forest with a group of other people, and she looks back on how she got there and what happened to her before that point. This was a really odd book to me. It was relatively short, and the narrative was winding and full of tangents, so it was quite hard to follow. I think this was intentional, as the narr Set some time in the future where people have "halves" they use to extract organs for transplant into themselves, this story is told by one woman who is writing her life story. I think this was intentional, as the narrator was not exactly compos mentis, but I found it quite distracting and I had to think carefully to decipher what was going on at times.
I would actually put this book alongside old-school sci-fi books by those such as Fritz Leiber or Kurt Vonnegut - to me anyway - who had really crazy and brilliant ideas, but their way of writing is sometimes almost cryptic and definitely intellectual. The idea for this book was really fantastic and ingenious, but the reading of it did take concentration, and there were still a lot of things which were unclear, questions left unanswered. Although I have suggested this book belongs among the greats of sci-fi, actually it reminds me of them but falls somewhat short.
I was expecting a lot from this book, and found myself to be slightly confused and disappointed by the end. I just didn't connect with it fully and in the end I just wasn't satisfied. In the near future, a woman huddles and grows colder. She is writing her thoughts in a notebook.
This dystopian tale is told in the first person and unlike most sci-fi fantasy, it is not an action thriller. Instead, it will haunt you as the horror slowly grows. The narrator Viviane, is a psychotherapist and she has a lived a typical life for the times. She has an electrical unit in her head, and two othe In the near future, a woman huddles and grows colder. She has an electrical unit in her head, and two other body implants like everyone else.
Her every movement is recorded and categorized. Yet, her thoughts seem to be her own. And she shares her thoughts with us through a stream of consciousness style of writing. She is an educated person; she is able to remember quotes from the previous centuries 18th- 20th. She can also be wry, like when she explains to a patient who is trying to visualize, that a safe place is a familiar place, not a screensaver. One of my favorite passages in this book was about the army of terra cotta soldiers in China.
I wish there had been even more to the book. I am glad I read this book and I recommend it. Told from the a journal-like point of view, this book explores the past life of the main character Vivianne, and her cloned "half", Marie. Vivianne tells us through her journal like writing about how she ended up living in this forest, and how she struggles with her fascination with her half. I really liked the concept. One of my favourite sci-fi topics to explore are clones used for organ donation of the "real" individual, such a fun idea.
This book does it way better than the novel Never Let Told from the a journal-like point of view, this book explores the past life of the main character Vivianne, and her cloned "half", Marie. If you liked that back you'll like this one. Also, the ending of the book was really great. I loved this.
I loved this so much. It's disturbing, it's strange, it leaves me questioning. Dark and intense. What a strange story. The writing was systematic at first but then became completely hypnotic. Even though my mind was aware of what was going on in the story I still felt strangely surprised at the ending. The poor have nothing. Marie is the name of both the author and the central character. Marie the character tells the narrative as a stream of consciousness and Our Life in the Forest, by Marie Darrieussecq, is an experimental future dystopian novel for those who loved The End We Start From. Marie the character tells the narrative as a stream of consciousness and is clearly a very confused individual.
Marie has woken and rescued her half — also named Marie — and escaped to the forest. Her story will make sense for a while, then jump, then regroup, then wander off on another tangent. From a personal perspective I found my own emotional reaction to Our Life in the Forest quite disturbing. It says a lot about the state of the world today that I found myself mostly just shrugging. Mega wealthy exploiting the poor for their own gain, largely through digital means? Yeah that sounds about right.
Disturbing methods of persuading the masses to be complicit in their own oppression? But a group of individuals who have broken through all the rhetoric to come together and try to destroy the system? Easier still if you suffer as a result of it. What motivation do you have other than empathy with the oppressed? Our Life in the Forest is a short read at just pages. Translated from French, on first reading I was a little baffled.
This review first appeared on Seeing the Lighter Side.
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Our Life in the Forest is a tale of a world where people have spare parts. Spare parts in jars, spare parts in living, breathing humans. Viviane writes us a journal. Living in the world where she has a cloned twin that is used for spare parts. Parts that will go to Viviane as she needs them.
The story begins with Viviane explaining how her twin, Sissy, came to be with her in the forest. It then takes us back to the beginning. To her life before the forest. To her life before knowing she had a twin.
See a Problem?
Translated from the French novel, it has overtones of France, but really this could take place anywhere in the world. This world where cloning is the rule, not the novelty. This bizarre world where Viviane is a trained counselor, or shrink. We meet her dog cloned and one of her patients, better known as The Clicker. He trains the robots to think. It is well written and entirely plausible in its tone, which is sometimes lost in dystopian themes.