One day, a book: “the man-brother”

Today, a fratricidal war over the death of a father whose testamentary choices divide.

A farm, in the plain. The father sold the land to the eldest son for a pittance. Also he asks, in his will, that the son renounce the “deferred salary” . What is “salary” ? It is the sum that receives, on the death of the parents, the one who took over the farm. It corresponds to the salary he should have received having worked with them when he was young.

On the day of the opening of the will, at the notary, the narrator expects to be disinherited. She left at the age of twenty, she studied, wrote a novel considered scandalous which led to her being quarantined. However, it is his favorite brother who is deprived, the one who had to work on another farm, the one that the products of “the great chemical cleaner” will kill later (Gisèle Bienne told it in la Malchimie ). In the siblings of the seven children, the narrator is the middle daughter.

The eldest brother disputes the will. And the others strike back. Two of them can also claim deferred wages. At the end of twelve years of trial, the first succeeds. Gisèle Bienne recounts the fratricidal war by putting herself in everyone’s shoes.

The father had nevertheless imposed an immutable order on him. At his funeral, the perfect moments come back to mind, and so do the terrible memories. Nothing is acquired forever, neither beings, nor places, nor weakness, nor strength.

The Brother-man by Gisèle Bienne at Actes Sud, in the collection “A place to go”, 224 pp., 20 €.

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